Plaid Cymru has pledged to “stop the thin blue line from breaking” and 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 UK 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 poorer.
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.
The police forces themselves are in favour of devolution, as are each of the four 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. It was voted down by the Conservatives 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.
Commenting, 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.”