Plaid Cymru has called again for powers over justice and policing to be fully devolved to Wales.
The call, which is being debated today (Wednesday 21 June) in the Senedd includes making Welsh police forces fully accountable to the Senedd and for a distinct Welsh legal system to be established.
Both Scotland and Northern Ireland have full law-making powers over justice and policing, whilst in Wales, this is reserved to Westminster. Newly elected leader of Plaid Cymru, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, has said this makes Wales an “anomaly”, and a matter that Welsh Government must take steps to “correct at once.”
While Labour in Wales is expected to agree with statement that “there is no rational basis” for Wales to be an outlier, they have put in an amendment that deletes the requirement for them to take immediate action to correct this anomaly.
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Leader of Plaid Cymru, said:
“Wales is an outlier when it comes to justice and policing, being the only devolved nation without control over criminal justice matters. But while the Labour Government is happy to acknowledge this anomaly, they are not showing any urgency in resolving it.
“Inequality is built into the heart of our justice system, and with public confidence in the police force dented, and crime in Wales at an all-time high, it’s vital that we give ourselves the best opportunity to tackle these issues head on.
“While Labour in Wales say that they agree policing and justice should be devolved, thanks to the work of my colleague Lord Wigley, we hear that no formal request has been made by Welsh Government. Their lack of decisive action is speaking louder than their words.
“Set against conflicting narrative from their counterparts in UK Labour, who have actively called for policing to ‘stay’ in Westminster – that’s why Plaid Cymru has taken this debate to the Senedd today.
“We’re calling on Welsh Government to formally request full powers over justice and policing, because it’s the only way we can truly tackle the injustices in the current system, and a fully devolved criminal justice system can be a vital step along the road to independence.”