Wales politics

Labour promises 800 more police officers in Wales

Welsh police officers Image copyright Getty Images

Labour has promised to pay for an extra 853 police officers in Wales if it wins the general election in June.

It pledged an extra 10,000 officers for England and Wales by reversing cuts to capital gains tax planned by ministers.

But Plaid Cymru claimed if Labour was serious about supporting police it would back devolving the service.

The Tories dismissed the plans as "nonsensical", saying Labour had already committed the tax savings to funding other pledges.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said "Labour's sums don't add up" and claimed its promises "aren't worth the paper they are printed on".

Labour said the extra officers would be in addition to the 500 community support officers funded by the Labour-led Welsh Government.

The party's Shadow Welsh Secretary, Christina Rees, said: "Despite their promises to protect our communities, the Tories at Westminster have slashed Welsh police numbers.

"Their reckless approach has put Welsh communities at risk."

Image caption Diane Abbott said the devolution of policing is something Labour is "discussing"

Diane Abbott, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme the party did not think it was "right at this time" to devolve policing.

But asked why the party had abstained on the devolution of policing in a Westminster vote, she added: "I think it's because it is something that we are currently discussing."

Ms Abbott said: "You will see it when we unroll our manifesto in the next few weeks."

She said the policy was needed because of a "worrying rise" in knife and gun crime, but admitted that had been seen in London and other big cities, and "not necessarily in Wales".

According to official statistics, the number of police officers in Wales has fallen from 7,370 in March 2010 to 6,625 by last September.

Image caption Liz Saville Roberts criticised Labour for not backing the devolution of policing

Plaid Cymru's policing spokeswoman, Liz Saville Roberts, said figures by Dyfed Powys Police showed that if responsibility for Welsh policing was transferred to the Welsh Government, Welsh police forces would be £25m better off.

"If the Labour Party were serious about supporting our police forces and keeping Wales safe, they wouldn't have voted with the Tories to keep Welsh policing in Westminster's hands," Ms Roberts said.

A UKIP spokesman accused Labour of having no plan to implement its policy of increasing police numbers, saying "money doesn't grow on trees".

He said UKIP planned to reduce the overseas aid budget and put the money saved into services such as policing and social care.

For the Liberal Democrats, Lord German said Labour had committed spending from reversing capital gains tax cuts so many times "you have to wonder whether they have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow".

"What we need is concrete policy proposals that will put police officers back on our streets, not the fanciful sums that Labour are offering," he added.

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