Letter from Wales: The last thing Wales needs is devolved policing

by Julian Ruck

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)  Christopher Salmon has issued a media statement reflecting his thoughts on the Silk Commission’s second report, which recommends that youth justice and policing should be devolved to Wales. The PCC said:

 “I welcome this report; it’s important that we have ongoing public discussion about major issues….I don’t see how Silk would enhance our ability to catch criminals. It would add great deal more expense, and fracturing the criminal justice system down the border would make it harder for us to bring justice and easier for people to escape justice.

We have the balance about right now between Westminster and Wales. We have strong local accountability in the form of Police and Crime Commissioners and, in Dyfed-Powys, that has allowed me to find savings of more than 4% since I arrived whilst adding 30 more police officers to the force…Centralising things in Cardiff would be no better than centralising things in Westminster.”

Before going any further one is compelled to consider the antecedents of said Mr Silk. Readers will not be surprised to learn that the gentleman is a Welsh speaker, born and still lives in Crickhowell, Welsh schooled and an honorary Professor at that old chestnut the Cardiff University madrassa – no surprises here, Crachach time again, nothing like giving plum jobs to outside talent is there?

Anyway, Mr Silk is obviously of the view that like first minister Carwyn Jones in the Guardian (6.1.14) and I quote “the country (take that for the principality) has grown in confidence over the past 15 years.”

So much so in fact that the Welsh economy is in freefall, Welsh education would shame a school in special measures and Wales has an NHS that can’t even get an ambulance to a critically ill patient in time.

There was also that wee bit of local difficulty as it were, back in March 2013. According to a senior Labour source, the Western Mail reported, Druid Carwyn, blue robes an’ all, was given a ‘roasting’ by Welsh MP’s at a meeting in Westminster over his pre-emptive plans to have policing devolved to Wales without one word of consultation with Welsh Labour MP’s or anyone else for that matter.

If readers will indulge me for a moment or two I must comment on my own recent experiences with Dyfed Powys Police, all of which were alluded to in my columns for a Welsh regional newspaper.

At the beginning of this year I was surprised to learn that Dyfed Powys police had taken on some extra- curricular duties. Apparently the Chief Constable is all for ‘Big Society’ inclusion and community self-reliance.

This being the case, two burley coppers equipped up to their chins turned up at my door to hand deliver a letter from the local Spar following a spat over the contents of my columns for Uncut and the Welsh press– three weeks after the event.

They were not wearing the red livery of the Royal Mail, so you can imagine that for few moments I was a trifle confused. Nothing criminal had happened, not even a breach of the peace. The Spar letter just told me not to go there again – a bit embarrassing really, I would have felt much better if I’d been thrown out of Waitrose or something.

As stated in my Star columns I reminded Welsh readers that there were now three classes of post in Wales: First class, Second class and Dyfed Powys Police class. The Chief Constable’s idea of ‘Community in Action’ I suppose.

On another occasion Carmarthenshire County Council advised me that there was now a ‘dedicated police team’ who dealt with Japanese Knotweed. Yes I know, I don’t blame you for wondering if I’ve been tippling too much whisky again. True though nevertheless and duly reported in my columns. But here’s the piece de resistance, when I rang up the Japanese Knotweed Busters at Dyfed Powys Police, what was the response?

“Japanese Knotweed? Dew mon? Drugs is it? We’ll have some boyos round in a few minutes!”

You think I’m making this up? Believe me I’m not and the first minister wants his very own Carwyn’s Peelers Police Force???

So much for catching criminals and making communities safer?

On a more serious note, the four Welsh Police Authorities are constantly in the headlines for some form of malfeasance or other, so can you imagine the chaos that will result if they have carte blanche to do what they like without any serious Parliamentary scrutiny?

‘Localism’ is the new political mantra be it Westminster or the Welsh Assembly. In principle citizens directing policy over their own environment enjoys a certain merit. But, are not local authorities and agencies better placed to do this and does Wales need yet another layer of confusion, bureaucratic clash and institutional chaos? Not to mention of course the monstrous costs for the public purse?

This writer is not against devolution in itself but is against a political framework that merely operates to serve its own insular and self-serving agenda, jobs for the boys Crachach rule by Taffia appointment and a first class track record of failure, incompetence and contempt for democratic accountability.

Before I go, there was one other sneaky recommendation slipped into Mr Silk’s report ie that the official name of the Welsh Assembly should be changed to ‘Senedd’. And there’s me thinking that whilst minority view should always be respected and where possible accommodated, the Welsh Assembly is still a democratic institution serving the English speaking majority in Wales.

How positively naïve of me.

As far as I am concerned on this one small point alone, Mr Silk has blown any kind of personal credibility he may be aspiring to achieve.

The Welsh nationalist devil is always in the detail, is it not?

PS With the Stephen Lawrence scandal is exploding onto the airwaves again and Druid Carwyn wants his own gang of Taffy Peelers.

There are no words.

Julian Ruck is a novelist, columnist and broadcaster. His latest novel “The Silver Songsters” (Pub. 18.4.14) is to be WH Smith’s book of the month in May.

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11 Responses to “Letter from Wales: The last thing Wales needs is devolved policing”

  1. Tafia says:

    Once again Julian manages to omit major facts from his articles and give non-Wales residents entirely the wrong picture.

    So Julian, which party standing in Welsh elections opposes devolving Police powers – in fact which one opposes further devolution? Just one – the BNP.

    You really are a pathetic disgrace of an anglophile.

  2. John Reid says:

    Tania is that. A god wins law, reply, I don’t think the Greens or Ukip have said that have they,

  3. @ Tafia:

    Once again I am afraid mr. tafia is deliberately ignoring the hard facts of life in Wales such as the recently announced 30% cut – backs to the provision of Adult Education Services in S.E.Wales along with massive Library closures , yet while WAC doles out outrageous amounts of the Taxpayer’s cash to favoured individuals in the form of CREATIVE WALES AWARDS , Writers’ , I use that term loosely of course, Bursaries etc.etc to the same -old -same -old faces and mainly,’ yesterday’s men; ‘ as there is no tomorrow.
    For what ? To line their own nests is the answer Tafia.
    Who with any sense of fairness let alone culture want to remain resident in wales !

  4. Tafia says:

    John Reid, UKIP Wales (or Plaid Annibyniaeth y Deyrnas Unedig i Gymru as it calls itself in Wales)support more devolution and are asking for more. In the space of two years they have changed from being anti-devolution to now not only wanting more and in more areas than now, but they also now produce their literature in Welsh as well as English.

    Green Party Wales also support more devolution and again in more areas.

    GK Brightmore – the tories in Wales want the education budget cut by 12% across the board.

  5. Tafia says:

    Oh and John, calling Ruck an anglophile does not quality as Godwins. He detests welsh nationalism, detests devolution and continually runs Wales down in deeply flawed comparisons to England. He is a Quisling and a anglophile.

  6. 10/03.

    DEVOLUTION my foot !

    Even Anne Clywd LABOUR MP has said WAG , “cannot be trusted with more powers of devolution ” with their track record of managing the NHS. Young people’s mental health services already facing for severe cut backs and lack of service to say nothing of leisure centres closing not good news for a largely obese population.


  7. James says:

    Julian – can you explain the relationship between the Stephen Lawrence killing, a racist killing covered up by corrupt policemen, and the notion of devolved policing?
    Just asking.

  8. julian ruck says:

    Ah well Taffia, no-one is perfect!


  9. Mr Akira Origami says:

    The Senate will push for Devo-Maximus. It will be a disaster for Wales.


    If Welsh police pay is linked to Welsh GDP they maybe not too keen on devolution.

  10. Tafia says:

    The fact Brightmore is that if you vote Labour, Plaid, Tory, LibDem, UKIP, Green, CDA and even Socialist Labour in Wales you are voting for a party that wants more devolution. If you don’t want more devolution then you have a choice of BNP or not voting.

    Strangely, the majority of electors in Wales vote and the BNP get virtually nothing. Of the voters, virtually all voted for a party favouring more devolution.

    Therefore the majority are either in favour of it or aren’t mithered.

    You are of course welcome to start your own anti-devolutionist party if you believe you will get the support. Personally I think you already know you would lose your deposit in every seat at all levels.

  11. Tafia and anonymous of course:

    Even the Labour MP Anne Clywd yesterday attacked and rattled a very disturbed Carwyn James from her Westminster platform for his total disrespect for the NHS in Wales ; so please don’t whine about more devolution for losers.

    BBC Wales – 18/03.14

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