Wales needs to take control of youth justice, says police boss

Arfon Jones

A police boss is calling for youth justice to be devolved to Wales.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones spoke out following the appointment of the most senior judge in England and Wales to head up a review of how the justice system works in Wales.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, who retires in October, will chair the Welsh Government’s Commission on Justice in Wales.

According to First Minister Carwyn Jones, there was a need to improve access to justice and to reduce crime with a system “truly representative of Welsh needs”.

At the moment Welsh courts are part of the same system and jurisdiction as England’s – and are under the control of Westminster, even though the Welsh Assembly has been able to legislate in some areas of policy since 2011.

“I welcome Lord Justice Thomas’s appointment following his distinguished service as Lord Chief Justice,” Arfon Jones said.

“Wales already has a distinct body of law and operates on an All Wales basis with a High Court and high-performing local jurisdictions.

“There are a number of issues which I would like to see as Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of North Wales Local Criminal Justice Board be devolved to Wales.

“Chief amongst them is the devolvement of Youth Justice which is the only children’s service in Wales that is not devolved.

“I would also like to see a law change whereby the Welsh Government would have more flexibility to introduce harm reduction measures for problematic drug use as they do with alcohol.

“I also believe that more victim and witness services should be devolved as we need to provide a Welsh language service, a priority that is rarely on  the Ministry of Justice’s radar.”

The First Minister announced a commission to create a ‘distinct Welsh justice system’ on Monday.

The First Minister said: “In Wales, we have had a separate legislature for six years but, as yet, we do not have our own jurisdiction.

“By establishing the Commission on Justice in Wales, we are taking an important first step towards developing a distinctive justice system which is truly representative of Welsh needs.

Carmarthen-born Lord Thomas added Wales “offers unique opportunities to identify new solutions to the complex challenges facing justice and the legal profession”.

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Dafydd ap Gwilym
Guest

Here we go again! Can we put up with Arfon Jones yet again doing or saying what is right for Wales?! And do nothing ourselves?! Seriously though, at a time when we have few people in authority or who should be representing us and standing up for our country it is fantastic to see and hear Arfon Jones doing just that, again. I have no doubts that he will continue to do so too! From someone not in the same constituency area as Arfon I’d like to say, diolch yn fawr iawn anyway and please, keep up the good work!

Tame Frontiersman
Guest
Tame Frontiersman

I don’t fault the reasoning in this post.

I do, however, worry about the constant drip, drip, drip of devolution.

I am concerned that constant distraction from 2 “processes not events” – devolution and Brexit, means that many issues in Wales, modernisation of infrastructure, dealing with an unsustainable agricultural sector, the crisis in the rural economy, the decline of Welsh in its heartlands, funding health and social care, low productivity and investment et al aren’t being addressed with due urgency.

Edeyrn
Guest
Edeyrn

The “England and Wales” tag…is an outdated colonial concept that completely hides the detail and differences between Welsh and English system

It originates from when Wales was officially called ‘England’ from 1536 right up until the 1950s. Scotland only avoids this justice and statistics lump in due to its different law system

Jonathan Edwards
Guest
Jonathan Edwards

Tame Frontiersman, lets break this down a little. Devolution meaning “funding health and social care, low productivity and investment et al” are not dealt with? Wales lost its source of income starting in 1914 when the Royal Navy switched away from burning our coal. In the 103 subsequent years we have had failures to act effectively. We had devolution for about the last 20 years, of a wishy washy, kind which Labour (who rule) have not really used at all. Devolution was intended to deal with “funding health and social care, low productivity and investment et al ” and could… Read more »

Jonathan Edwards
Guest
Jonathan Edwards

Right, back to law and order. Point one – if Wales were a US State like North Carolina (or 49 other States) Wales would run the lot. Lock, stock and barrel. Law, police, courts, prisons – the whole caboodle. Wales would be about average size as US states go, so don’t give me the “too small” argument. As well as running its own laws, Wales could accommodate UK/EU law as well. And if Wales law differed from England law, across the State Line (border) it is no problem at all. Has worked well for 230 years in the US. Don’t… Read more »