Devolution of policing would deliver £25 million boost to Welsh police forces
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts, has criticised the UK Government for imposing sustained cuts to the police forces since 2010.
There are 750 fewer police officers in Wales now than there were in 2010, equivalent to a 10% drop since the Tories took office. North Wales Police has 132 fewer officers – an 8% fall in numbers in just seven years.
Now Plaid Cymru is calling for the devolution of policing to ensure more police officers on the beat.
Figures provided by Dyfed Powys Police show that if policing in Wales was funded on the basis of population, they would be better off by £25 million per year. Devolving policing to Wales, bringing Wales into line with Scotland and northern Ireland, would ensure that policing would be funded through the Barnett Formula, which is based on population, rather than the UK Government’s police funding formula.
The UK Government also intends on reforming its police funding formula which, if implemented, would deliver a further £32 million cut to the Welsh police forces.
Devolving policing could therefore protect the Welsh police forces from Westminster’s £32 million cut and instead deliver a £25 million boost to their finances.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, said: “The fall in police numbers is being felt acutely in certain communities here in the North, where anti-social behaviour is on the rise and there’s a feeling that police can’t cope. Losing one in every 12 police officers in the last seven years would stretch any organization and it’s clear that frontline policing has suffered as a result of Tory cuts and UK central government policies.”
During Prime Minister’s Questions, Plaid Cymru’s leader in Westminster, Liz Saville Roberts asked the Prime Minister, “Police officer numbers in Wales have dropped by 10 per cent since her party came to power.
“If policing were devolved – as it is in northern Ireland and Scotland – Welsh forces would have extra funding worth £25 million at their disposal. This would more than replace those lost officers.
“What justification is there for refusing to devolve policing?”
The Prime Minister responded, “We’ve been round this discussion before but can I just address the central issue of what the honourable lady is talking about which is about police budgets and is about the number of police officers.
“We are currently protecting police budgets, we’ve been doing that since 2015.
“That, I believe is acknowledged across the House and we’ve not just protected those police budgets – we are ensuring that the Police have the capabilities they need to deal with new types of crime – creating the National Cybercrime unit, creating the National Crime Agency – these are all important steps to ensure the Police can do their job of cutting crime and crime is at a record low.”