- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
In a lively Assembly debate on Tuesday, Joyce challenged Tory AMs to name one member of the public they’d met who thought that the answer to crime was Police Commissioners.
Assembly Members were voting on provisions relating to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, which includes the introduction of elected police commissioners.
AMs took the unprecedented decision not to approve the Legislative Consent Motion in relation to the Bill, voting to refuse their consent, the first time such a move has happened on Westminster legislation.
Speaking later Joyce Watson AM, Mid and West Wales, said:
“This Police Commissioners plan is just a Tory waste of money.
“Official estimates show that the elections of Commissioners, which will be held every four years, will probably cost the tax payer an additional £50m.
“Now we have made the Assembly’s views clear, I would urge the Home Office to consider delaying implementation of the Bill in Wales until the effectiveness of the Commissioner model can be tested and properly evaluated following implementation in England.
“If the Tory-led Government wants a visible police presence in our communities they would do better to call an elected representative on the Police Authority a Commissioner, and spend the savings on extra police for our streets.
“Apart from being a waste of money, the government’s plans risk politicising the police – we know from reading British Crime surveys that there is a gap between ‘real’ and ‘perceived’ crime. And the concern has to be that Commissioners will be under significant pressure to target resources towards allaying fears at the expense of effectively policing real crime.”
The UK government wants to bring in elected police commissioners in England and Wales, but it needs the assembly’s permission to introduce police and crime panels to scrutinise the commissioners in Wales. The panels would affect local government, which is devolved.