Sunday, 28 May 2017


At the end of the day, the Welsh people have a simple democratic right to have a greater say in something so fundamental to civilised community life as policing. This is already the case in Scotland, Northern Ireland, London and Manchester. Policing is only one side of the coin, to make devolved policing work, there is also a need to devolve control of criminal justice. 

I have been long convinced that now is the time is right to devolve policing powers to the Welsh Government in Cardiff. Devolving policing powers would increase the accountability of the Welsh Government; strengthen the democratic process by allowing decisions, which directly impact on the Welsh people to be made, reviewed, revised and changed here in Wales. 

The recent Con Dem and Conservative cuts may shape policing and set the policing agenda here in Wales for the next twenty years. Fundamentally policing decisions in Wales need to reflect the needs and concerns of our communities, not the cost cutting agenda of the current Conservative Prime Minister (and previous Home Secretary) and the Ministry of Criminal Justice in London.

Plaid Cymru has rightly pledged to “stop the thin blue line from breaking” and to boost funding for the Welsh police forces. The party’s Home Affairs spokesperson, Liz Saville Roberts, has pledged to boost police funding in Wales by devolving policing to Wales.

The Westminster Government last year delayed the introduction of a new funding formula for forces in Wales and England after a “statistical error” was discovered. Once this new funding formula is introduced, the Welsh police forces will be £32 million a year worse off.

The devolution of policing would mean the Welsh police forces would be exempt from the Tories’ planned £32 million cut to their budgets and would lead to an additional £25 million through being funded through the Barnett formula meaning a total difference in Welsh police budgets of £57 million between Plaid Cymru and Conservative policy.

Our police forces are in favour of devolution, as are all four of the Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales. Plaid Cymru called a vote on devolving policing during the passing of the Wales Bill through the Houses of Parliament. We should remember that given the choice of devolving Policing to Wales, the Conservatives voted it down and the Labour Party abstained.

There are 19,704 fewer police officers in Wales and England since the Tories took office in 2010 but the Scottish police force has been exempt from Tory cuts due to the fact that policing is devolved to Scotland.

Plaid Cymru’s Home Affairs spokesperson Liz Saville Roberts, said:

“Governments have a duty to keep our country safe and secure but the number of police officers has plummeted since the Tories took office in 2010 and they want to slash Welsh police force budgets by £32 million a year. The forces are already suffering from severe cutbacks and we have to stop the thin blue line from breaking.

“The Tory review before the election sought to change the funding formula to place greater emphasis on socio-economic data and more general crime figures which wouldn’t have properly considered the workload differences of each constabulary. It would have benefitted urban areas like London at the expense of the Welsh forces. The change was delayed but voters should be in no doubt that once this election is over, the Tories will try again.

“If we devolved policing to Wales, not only would we be able to focus on Welsh policing priorities but they would also be funded in line with population. Figures by Dyfed Powys Police indicate that funding our forces in line with population would result in an additional £25 million for the four forces in Wales, and they would be exempt from the £32 million cut from Westminster.

“The difference between Tory policy and Plaid Cymru policy is £57 million a year for Welsh policing. ​We will be actively pressing the Westminster government to implement a formula that does not disadvantage the four Welsh forces, but the case for the devolution of policing to the National Assembly grows by the day and has never been stronger. It seems the best way to protect our policing system is to remove it from the simplistic one-size-fits-all approach at Westminster and operate a system that is developed in Wales and works for Wales.

“Only Plaid Cymru can defend Wales from the Tories in Westminster. The Labour Party abstained on the devolution of policing – a vote for Labour is a vote for the status quo of weak and distracted opposition, allowing the Tories to get away with it.”

Number of police officers in England & Wales statistics:

Saturday, 27 May 2017


Quality childcare is part of the answer to ending child poverty, Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood has said. Visiting a nursery in Llanelli (on May 26th), the party leader unveiled the party's three-point plan to tackle child poverty.

Leanne Wood said that it is a damning indictment of Labour's legacy that 200,000 children in Wales are living in poverty, with 90,000 in severe child poverty. She said that Plaid Cymru's plan aims to break the cycle of poverty and lower educational attainment that comes with that.

Plaid Cymru's three-point plan to tackle child poverty includes:
  • Free full-time nursery places for all three year olds and extending the provision of 12 and a half hours to all two year olds in Wales. This would provide children with early educational input giving them the chance of the best start in life as well as helping parents to return to work or work longer hours to improve families' income levels.

  • Measures to lift households out of fuel poverty. Plaid Cymru will create a Welsh energy company, Ynni Cymru, to use profit from Welsh resources to cut the cost of energy for thousands of families across Wales. Through NICW we will also embark on an unprecedented retrofitting scheme to make homes more energy efficient.

  • Scrapping the bedroom tax, which has resulted in little savings and has caused disruption and chaos.

Announcing the plan, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said:

"Every child in Wales should be given the chance to succeed, and access to good quality childcare is a crucial part of that.

"Plaid Cymru's child poverty action plan means providing free full-time nursery places for all three year olds and 12 hours per week of free childcare for two year olds. It also includes measures to end fuel poverty through reduced household bills and scrapping the bedroom tax.

"Despite consecutive years of Labour and Conservative rule, one in three children in Wales lives in poverty. That is not acceptable. Plaid Cymru wants to give every child every chance of success, but research tells us that children who are born into poverty are already at a disadvantage. That's why we need to break this cycle."

Friday, 26 May 2017


Plaid Cymru has pledged to introduce a Bill in the next Parliament to prevent abusers continuing to harass and distress their victims through vexatious court applications and breaches of restraining orders.

The party’s justice spokesperson, Liz Saville Roberts, has pledged to introduce a Private Members’ Bill, if re-elected in June.

Currently thousands of victims of domestic abuse, coercive control and stalking are further victimised by their perpetrators by repeated violation of restraining orders through online contact or by applying to either the civil or family courts for spurious reasons to further humiliate their victim.

Research carried out by Plaid and Voice4Victims last month has shown that only half of the 122 victims of domestic abuse or stalking in the study had a restraining order in place and of those, two thirds did not prohibit online contact. In addition 55% were contacted by the convicted perpetrator through the courts with a third being directly cross-examined by them.

The survey found that 65% of victims said that the service from the police was either poor or extremely poor. Just 23% of those contacted through courts without legal merit were dealt with as a breach of the restraining order by the Police.

In the vast majority of cases staff in the Civil or Family Courts were unaware that the applicant had criminal convictions or prohibition orders in respect of the victim. There is no law that allows for the information to be made available to the non-criminal courts. The victim does not have a right to give such information about the perpetrator to the civil and family courts. This severely disadvantages the victim and causes extreme distress.

The Plaid Bill will:

  • Ensure that all courts co-operate with each other when the same victim is involved in different jurisdictions;
  • Give a victim the right to inform a Civil or a Family Court of any relevant convictions;
  • Make it an offence for an applicant to fail to inform a court of relevant criminal convictions;
  • Introduce a presumption of custody for multiple breaches of a restraining order;
  • Give judges the power to dismiss vexatious applications;
  • Prohibit the cross examination of a victim by their perpetrator; and
  • Introduce mandatory training for all criminal justice staff.

Plaid Cymru’s justice spokesperson, Liz Saville Roberts said:

“Restraining orders clearly lack adequate sanctions to prevent online abuse and abuse of process through the courts causing further trauma, harm and mental distress to victims.

“There seems to be serious failings by criminal justice agencies and if re-elected, my Bill will give victims rights and restore the imbalance.

“Training for the police and crown prosecutors is essential if these victims are to be properly protected.”

Victims’ rights charity, Voice4Victims has worked with Plaid Cymru to draft the Bill.

Co-Director of Voice4Victims, Harry Fletcher said:

“There has been an extraordinary rise in the number of perpetrators initiating legal proceedings against their victims in order to emotionally harm them and continue unwanted contact.

“There must be a duty on abusers to inform the courts of any criminal convictions and severe sanctions if they fail to do so. Plaid Cymru’s Bill would deliver much needed changes to the justice system.”

The Bill is the latest in a series of Plaid Cymru initiatives tackling social justice for victims.

Plaid Cymru had just three MPs in the House of Commons in the previous parliament but punches well above its weight.

Previous successes have led to, or are leading to both legal and social change across the UK. They include:

  • The first veterans’ forum in Parliament to raise awareness of the plight and needs of many veterans in jail, homeless or experiencing mental health issues;
  • Establishing an inquiry into stalking which resulted in new laws;
  • A Bill to recognise and create a new offence of coercive control in a domestic abuse setting which resulted in a new law;
  • Introducing a Bill to give victims of crime rights in law which is now in the 2017 Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos;
  • Updating the law on digital crime and raising awareness in Parliament and with the Police of the new dangers;
  • Introducing a Private Members’ Bill to limit the cross-examination of rape victims about their sexual history which is likely to become law after the election;
  • Pressing for the crimes of stalking, coercive control and possession of indecent images of children to be referred to the Attorney General if they are unduly lenient – this is now in the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto;
  • Demanding that private probation companies be held to account following an appalling murder in South Wales. There is now a Government review;
  • Improve the laws on domestic violence through prevention, better investigation and prosecution and improved protection post-conviction. This too is in the Tory manifesto; and
  • Introducing an amendment to the Digital Economies Bill to ensure that social media providers do more to protect victims from hate crime and bullying which the Government accepted in April 2017.


Notes to editors:

All the campaigns were led by Plaid with all party support and in conjunction with organisations such as Voice4Victims and the Digital-Trust.

Monday, 22 May 2017


Plaid Cymru has called for a national energy company for Wales to be established to reduce energy prices and tackle climate change.

Ynni Cymru (Energy Wales) - a not-for-profit organisation similar to Welsh Water - would be responsible for tackling fuel poverty through investing in infrastructure, green energy production, and research and development.

Simon Thomas, Plaid Cymru's spokesperson on Energy, Climate Change, and Rural Affairs, commissioned the report on Ynni Cymru. He said, "In Wales, we generate more electricity than we consume and yet we have some of the highest electricity costs in Europe. Ownership, control and investment in renewable and sustainable energy is a key question in this election and central to our future prosperity."

The Plaid Cymru report highlights the severity of Wales' fuel poverty, as nearly a quarter of Welsh households spend more than ten per cent of their household incomes on energy bills, compared to only 11.6% of households in England.

Simon Thomas said:

"Wales needs a national energy company to focus on reducing energy prices for consumers through renewable sources. Even though we have a thousand miles of coastline and five million acres of land, we produce less renewable energy than elsewhere in the UK.

"Despite being a net exporter of electricity, Welsh consumers are faced with higher bills than any other country in the UK. The answer is not to place an arbitrary cap on bills but to take profiteering shareholders out of the equation and take ownership of our own energy.

"Plaid Cymru wants Wales to be fully self-sufficient in renewable electricity by 2035 and creating a national energy company for Wales is part of achieving that aim

"If we are serious about cutting Wales' emissions by 80% by 2050, we need to act now. Plaid Cymru is committed to defending Wales' natural environment and reducing high-energy costs for consumers.

"As we leave the EU, a new internal energy market will develop in the UK, and it's important we accelerate towards self-sufficiency through cleaner, greener energy production

"The Tories have dragged their feet on projects like the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon that would create high quality jobs and green energy, and once again they have left it out of their manifesto.

"The two Westminster parties continue to bicker about capping energy prices but the sensible solution is to take profiteering out of the equation, replicating successful models like EDF which is owned by the French public.

"The only way to defend Wales' natural environment and reduce energy prices is to send a strong group of Plaid Cymru MPs to Westminster to form a united Welsh block in the House of Commons."