Cross-party support for devolving Policing & Justice


Police van, Heol y Frenhines, Caerdydd © Copyright Chris Sampson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In the run up to the 2021 Senedd election, all of the country's main political parties, except for the Conservatives, have pledged to pursue the devolution of policing and justice powers to Cymru, as recommended by the Thomas Commission in 2019.


Wales Green Party, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and Plaid Cymru have all committed to devolving this matter, which is currently reserved to Westminster.


However, the Conservative Party is not in favour of devolving this matter.


Cymru is the only devolved nation that does not have control of justice and policing.


What each party says:


Wales Green Party


The Wales Green Party says that it supports the recommendations of the Thomas Commission to devolve justice and policing powers to Cymru.


The party also calls for the establishment of a Welsh legislature and courts, and the administration of the prison estate and non-custodial/probation services.


Labour


Labour's manifesto for the upcoming election explicitly calls for the devolution of these powers to the Senedd: "Pursue the case for the devolution of policing and justice, as set out by the Thomas Commission."


Liberal Democrats


Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Jane Dodds has previously set out her party's intention to devolve policing and criminal justice to Cymru.


Announcing the party's Police and Crime Commissioner candidates on 8 April, 2021 the party stated that it is standing on a platform: "To campaign to scrap the roles, devolve justice to the Senedd and returning powers back to local police forces."


Plaid Cymru


Plaid Cymru has been a vocal advocate for devolving policing and justice to the country. The party claims that devolving this matter "would see Welsh police forces receive an additional £25million a year", which they claim is the equivalent of "900 extra police officers on the beat."


The party's manifesto for the 2021 Senedd elections states: "After twenty years of devolution, it is an anomaly for the Senedd not to have full control of criminal justice matters. We will press for full devolution of the criminal justice system – the police, prisons, probation and the courts – so we can create a fairer and more equal justice system.


"We support the creation of a distinct legal jurisdiction in Wales."


Conservatives


The Conservative Party opposes the further devolution of powers to the Senedd.


In 2014, the party's leader in the Senedd Andrew RT Davies said that he opposed the devolution of policing and justice powers to Cymru.


Previous party leader Paul Davies told the BBC in October 2020 that his party's ministers would reject the Thomas Commission's recommendations that justice and policing should be devolved to Cymru.


(More to follow...)