Exactly how our communities are policed and exactly to whom our Police are accountable is an important issue at this Welsh election, even though Policing is not a devolved matter. Certainly well over one hundred plus email's that I have received from concerned Police Federation members over the last few hours show that many of our Police officers are also concerned as to where things are going Policing wise as a result of the proposed Con Dem public sector spending cuts.
Plaid believes that everyone in Wales has the right to live in a community that feels safe and is properly policed. While Policing is not currently devolved, Plaid will seek the devolution of the criminal justice system to the National Assembly for Wales so that we can introduce a progressive and more responsive approach to ensuring safer communities. And Plaid will work towards a Welsh system of restorative justice and community policing.
This is why - Plaid believes that the devolution of policing would safeguard jobs, pay and conditions. Showing a total lack of vision, Labour are working with the Tories by accepting their plans, proposing instead to create 500 Community Support Officers – support staff working on local anti-social behaviour issues.
This is a waste of public money - Plaid would much rather see these wasted millions spent on supporting trained police officers as they go about their existing duties while faced with deep and painful budget cuts. In Wales We are facing the prospect of losing 1,600 police officers across Wales, and Plaid would rather see the estimated £14 million Labour wants to spend on CSO's spent on real police work instead.
HMIC (Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary) has said that a cut beyond 12% would “almost certainly reduce police availability”. The UK Government thinks it is acceptable to force a cut of 20% to the policing budget during times of recession - this makes no sense. Our Police forces cannot ill afford to lose some of their most experienced police officers, who will be the first to go.
I sincerely that wish someone would explain to me (and everyone else) exactly how the UK Government honestly expects to see a fall in crime rates at the same time as it is slashing resources and is planning to reduce the number of civilian support staff and Police Officers.
Following the devolution of criminal justice, Plaid will launch a National Commission on Policing. This comprehensive project will look at the future role and functions of Welsh police forces, including what people in Wales want from their police authorities and the changing demands of a 21st century Wales.
Despite everything the UK Government has forced through plans which will see responsibility for appointing Police Commissioners given to the Secretary of State for Wales, despite the Welsh Assembly's opposition to the move. With that in mind, Plaid will continue to oppose the introduction of elected police commissioners, as Plaid believes that ideology and politics should not be a part of our criminal justice system.