A Consensus on Policing in Wales
15 February 2016
Policing in Wales is on the verge of potential change.
future of Welsh policing was one of the topics of discussion at a reception held
at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay last week. Current and prospective
Welsh Assembly members, along with candidates for Police
and Crime Commissioner met with police representatives from across Wales, at an event
hosted by the Police Federation.
an opportunity for those with the power to change policing to meet and
discuss possible ways forward, with representatives of the officers on-the-street that such changes would affect.
Leighton Andrews AM, the Minister for Public Services, who opened the evening, spoke highly of the work that police in Wales do.
passion for their work and their commitment to do the best for the
people of Wales is evident. We are very lucky to have such dedicated
individuals to protect us.”
Mr Andrews spoke of the recently
released Draft Wales Bill, which is under consultation, and that the Welsh Government are seeking to have policing become a devolved function.
“It can come as no surprise that we have
long campaigned for policing to be devolved to the Welsh Government. We
believe that as the only emergency service that is not currently
devolved, there would be value in bringing responsibility for the Police
to Wales. This would ensure even greater collaboration between the
three services than currently exists.”
Will Riches, Vice Chairman
of the Police Federation, said: “Policing faces an uncertain future, and
the catalyst is down to government policy.
"The bedrock of
policing is the independence of Office of Constable. This independence
is vital in giving clarity and confidence to police officers and the
work they do, as well as ensuring accountability to the public which
Mr Riches said there was a balance to be struck between the police and governments, both in Cardiff and London.
“For Welsh police, this balancing act is doubly difficult – operating a
non-devolved service in a largely devolved political theatre. They must
look towards two Governments and two policy administrators.
“The Federation itself has reviewed substantial evidence on possible
ways forward for policing and Wales, and being guided by the evidence,
concluded that policing could be devolved. Whether it will be, is down
to the politicians and the evidence they have to hand.”
said: “With both the General and Police and Crime Commissions elections
fast approaching, the Federation representatives both in Wales, and at
headquarters, want to assist in helping candidates fully understand what
we know is a complicated issue. Where we can we will speak to, discuss
and debate with, brief and consult all those who are interested.”
The event was sponsored by the Welsh Assembly’s Deputy Presiding
Officer, David Melding AM, who noted the importance of hosting such
events to inform and advise all political parties of the realities of
The Federation representatives took the opportunity to speak to the guests, from all political parties, on a wide range of issues that affect policing; the impact of funding cuts, the use of police cars as ambulances, mental health and the formation of a new Welsh Affairs sub-committee. They also discusses roads policing, child protection and police officer morale and retention.