Written Statement: Publication of the ‘Preparing for the Devolution of Policing in Wales’ report

Mick Antoniw MS, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution has issued the following written statement on the Publication of the ‘Preparing for the Devolution of Policing in Wales’ report:

Pursuing the devolution of justice and policing is a commitment in the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government 2021-26. As Members are aware, this reflects a recommendation in the 2019 Commission on Justice in Wales (the Thomas Commission), which was the largest ever examination of the operation of the justice system in Wales.

The Commission on Devolution in Wales (the Silk Commission), which was set up by the UK Government, which reported in 2014 and, more recently the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales, both supported the devolution of policing.

In pursuing the case for the devolution of policing, it is important we understand the challenges involved and how these could be addressed. In November last year, we commissioned an independent team to work with key stakeholders to understand the benefits, opportunities, challenges and risks.

The team, led by former Chief Constable of North Wales Police Carl Foulkes QPM, has gathered insight from those with expertise of policing in Wales; with the four elected police and crime commissioners in Wales and with Dame Vera Baird KC in her capacity as independent expert adviser to the Welsh Government on justice devolution.

We are today publishing the report, which explores potential options for a devolved policing service in Wales, taking into account the practical considerations associated with implementing devolution.

The review does not express views about the merits of devolving policing, but it clarifies – at a level of detail not previously produced – the issues which would need to be considered in doing so. It is a hugely valuable contribution to our understanding, and we are grateful to Carl Foulkes and all those who worked to support him in the production of this report.

We are also grateful to all those who gave of their time to contribute to this report. In particular, we are grateful to chief constables of Wales’ police forces, for supporting the review team in identifying the issues that would need to be addressed.

The report contains specific next steps for the Welsh Government to consider. This will form the basis for our future consideration and we will continue to work closely with police partners.

We will also continue to take forward work in the other areas we have identified as suitable for devolution – youth justice and probation. The Delivering Justice for Wales progress report, published last month, provides an update about progress in these areas

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