Saturday, 30 April 2011
Come on Labour - stand up for Wales
Back in 2008 I published a pamphlet called Making Our Communities Safer, which argued for the devolution of the criminal justice system. I'd drawn on the previous four years as a member of the Assembly's Social Justice and Regeneration Committee and Plaid Cymru's Assembly spokeperson as well as my previous work as a Probation Officer.
Following the bungled failed attempt in 2006 by the then Home Office to restructure the police forces, devolution of policing to the Assembly was a call supported by Assembly Members from a range of parties. On his blog in March 2007, Paul Flynn said this:
"Rosemary Butler raised the possibility of Wales running our own police forces. The idea has had the enthusiastic backing of the North Wales Police Chief and other top cops in the past. Peter Hain poured cold water on the idea. It's not up to Peter or anyone else to issue a fatwa on proposals that could benefit Wales. It's no secret that many Welsh MPs see any new devolution from London to Cardiff as a threat to their jobs. Devolution means that Scotland lost MPs, Wales did not. The fear is that providing Wales with a full Scottish style parliament would cut the total of Welsh members. It's all about hanging on to power. Issues should be judged on their merits not on the vested interests of politicians. Had the police been run from Wales, we would have avoided the waste and futility of the aborted reorganisation of the police last year. The case for continuing with the present rule from a dysfunctional Home Office is a weak one."
In the One Wales coalition agreement jointly signed between Plaid Cymru and Labour in 2007, it says:
"We want to see a fair system of youth and criminal justice, in which the people of Wales have every confidence."
"We will also consider the potential for devolution of some or all of the criminal justice system."
"We will consider the evidence for the devolution of the criminal justice system within the contexts of (a) devolution of funding and (b) moves towards the establishment of a single administration of justice in Wales."
Labour candidates must have had the same e mails as I have from serving police officers concerned about the effects of the Tory/Lib Dem cuts on their ability to provide a frontline service. They would have read things like "There is great uncertainty and resentment towards the government within the organisation" and "I could go on and on about how furious I am and how let down I feel" and "the force...is being destroyed by the non elected Con Lib Democrat government at Westminster. Authorising all these changes and cuts, job loses and redundancies to save money rather than to provide a better service..."
So this outburst from Carl Sargent as part of Labour's election campaign was odd to say the least.
Are Welsh police forces and other public services that operate within the criminal justice system safer in David Cameron's hands?
Unless of course, Paul Flynn's analysis was right. If he was, then it's safe to assume that this attack was initiated in London.
Come on Carl and the rest of you in Welsh Labour seeking re-election: stand up for Wales.