Saturday, 30 November 2013


One of the options within the recently published Stevens report into Policing was the suggestion of a single unified police service for all of Wales as has happened recently in Scotland (in April 2013). There are some merits to this idea, including various economies of scale, potential cost savings and the possibilities of concentrating resources to develop all Wales approaches to drugs, car crime, human trafficking, amongst other things. That said I think that we have however, passed the point where Westminster can simply make and implement decisions about the structure and organisation of policing in Wales let alone decide what our policing priorities are. However, our police services are organised on a fundamental level local accountability of Policing are paramount especially if we are to uphold the public’s confidence in the police service. Welsh police forces are working their way through some significant budget cuts, some of which could have some long term consequences for the way our communities are policed. One consequence of policing and policing priorities being decided by the Ministry of Justice is that of policing resources being pulled from one area of Wales to another resulting in some parts of our country ending up with pretty minimal Police coverage, something that is unacceptable. Whatever the merits or perhaps not, of a single all Wales Police service to one side we need a Policing structure that is fully accountable to our communities needs rather than those of the Ministry of Justice. The old local authority policing committee structures failed to deliver proper accountability. At a very basic level Policing needs to be accountable to the people of Wales, both locally and nationally, so before any future decisions on the shape of Policing in our country are made, control of Policing and Criminal Justice needs to be devolved to Wales.

1 comment:

  1. Criminal Justice does need to be devolved, the Police and Crime Commissioner experiment has been a failure - however I do not think a single Policing Wales is the answer either. Police accountability is best served by local police services, accountable to local political structures. The old nominated police authorities just increase the power of patronage of party leaders. What I'd suggest is a rationalisation of the tier of unelected quangos and joint boards that are proliferating.

    7 health authorities, 3 fire authorities, 4 education consortia, 4 police regions, transport consortia etc....

    I'd replace all these bodies by directly elected regional authorities, 5 in all, taking in education, transport and waste disposal in addition. Revitalise democracy and create a strong tier of regional government - even decentralise some decision making from the National Assembly to the regions. Continue the existing counties as districts, in short a return to the two tier system we had before but democratise the quango state that is expanding.

    For the police accountability can be three fold, local watch committees based on the current counties where divisional commanders would present their policing plans for scrutiny. The Regional Authorities, that would replace the existing Police Commissioners, responsible for hiring the chief constable and setting the budget and the broad parameters of police priorities. And an all Wales serious crime and criminal intelligence unit reporting directly to the Welsh Minister for Criminal Justice.