To devolve policing ... or not?

Thanks to Ffranc Sais, who I have to say is one LibDem blogger who generally has something interesting to say, I looked at this story in the Daily Post:

Former Deputy Chief Constable slams plans for Police Commissioners


A former deputy chief constable of North Wales yesterday warned plans to appoint Police Commissioners could take policing back two centuries “to political partiality.”

And Bill Brereton added he was concerned at proposals to devolve policing to the Assembly and would argue the case against it ...

“I am also concerned at proposals to devolve policing to the Assembly – I do not think that is right and will argue the case against it strongly.”

Daily Post, 18 April 2011

The first part is fair enough. I don't like the idea of elected Police Commissioners either, and I hope we are able to avoid having them imposed on Wales. Devolving responsibility for policing to Wales would be the best way to ensure that it doesn't happen ... though Labour haven't quite managed to work out that blindingly obvious fact for themselves yet.

This Bill Brereton is in fact the LibDem candidate for Wrecsam in the forthcoming Welsh general election. Yet the LibDems say they are unequivocally in favour of devolving responsibility for the police to Wales. This is again from the Daily Post, only ten days ago:

Plaid Cymru and Lib Dems want control of police in Wales

The Welsh Liberal Democrats said that the party had consistently called for the strengthening of devolution and argued the case for the devolution of policing and criminal justice in its last Assembly election manifesto.

“We shall remain committed to that proposal when our manifesto is published shortly. It remains ludicrous that an issue so crucial to local communities is still governed from Westminster.”

Daily Post, 11 April 2011

And indeed that commitment is in their manifesto:

We will make Welsh communities safer for everyone by ... continuing to press for the devolution of policing and justice by producing evidence to support the case. Devolution of policing could allow for better, Welsh solutions to Welsh problems.

Welsh LibDem Manifesto, 2011

That's a very welcome commitment, of course. Therefore we have to ask why the LibDems have chosen a candidate who intends to do the exact opposite of what it says in the manifesto he's standing on. How on earth did he get selected? But more importantly, how on earth can the LibDems expect anyone to take what they promise to do in their manifesto seriously?

At least there's a silver lining ... he has absolutely no hope of being elected. Let's make that true of every other LibDem who's standing on 5 May.

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Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

The LibDem vote is basically non-existent across the south-west (except Ceredigion, of course). I expect to see a large number of returning officers pocketing £500 deposits to boost their LAs' meagre reserves.

Honestly, how much of a chance is there that the FibDems will even break through 5% in 4 of the 5 regions? I know this has been asked elsewhere, but will there even be enough of them to form a group in the 4th Assembly?

Anonymous said...

The LibDems won't do as badly as everyone is saying. They'll have 5 or 6 seats and could be in government.

Cibwr said...

I can't see them falling below 4 - but I would not be surprised to see them fall to that. I think they will just hold on to Brecon & Radnor and Cardiff Central - I think they will get two list seats.

Anonymous said...

The Lib Dems have a core vote of about 7 or 8% of the electorate (possibly slightly higher for a Westminster election in Wales). They won't fall below 4. These 8% are the people that actually consider themselves Lib Dems or even Liberals, everything else they have ever won on top of that are floating voters, tactical switchers, bandwagon voters, disillusioned leftists (particularly in 2005) and so on. I think they have a 50/50 chance of going into government with Labour- but that will throw up some interesting dynamics.

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

Ramblings is correct about the Liberal core, but my suspicion is that a fair number of them will abstain this time around (just as many Labour supporters did in 2007).

The doomsday scenario for the Liberals, then, is keeping Brecon and Radnor, as well as a list seat in South Wales Central, but losing the rest. I seriously don't think this to be beyond the realms of possibility.

Anonymous said...

I think it is refreshing to see a Lib Dem being honest enough to admit BEFORE the election that he is going to renege on solemn commitments made in his manifesto, rather leaving it 'till after the election, like Clegg&co did!

Gwilym said...

The way things asrer goinmg, in a couple of hundred years we could have an independent Wales. Is that really what we want?

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