Wales politics

Give police cash they need, says Leanne Wood

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Media captionInvest in public services to show how much we value them, says Leanne Wood

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has criticised funding cuts to the police in light of the Manchester attack.

Appearing on BBC Wales' Ask the Leader programme, she said the "police needed to be given sufficient resources to do that job properly".

Military patrols should not become the "norm", she said, although the current security situation was "extreme".

Ms Wood said she wanted responsibility for policing devolved to Wales, with cross-border co-operation on terrorism.

"At a time like this it's important I think to recognise the tremendous work our public servants do in the emergency services and the health service as well," she told an audience of voters in Maesteg, Bridgend county.

"It's pretty bad that those public workers have had to face so many deep and drastic cuts in recent years.

"That's particularly the case with the police and I understand that Manchester police are going to be cut drastically over the next few years.

"So I think if anything we have to invest in those public services in the future to show how much we value them.

"It's difficult to imagine doing a job where you have to run in to a situation of danger when everyone else is running away.

"I know that from the police officers which I've spoken to in recent times that there's a lot of anger there at those cuts and people feel undervalued."

But Ms Wood said Plaid was opposed to "mass surveillance" of the public.

Policing was affected by austerity cuts in 2010, but since 2015 UK government funding has been protected, rising in line with inflation.

However, not every force in England and Wales will have seen their budgets rise in the same way because money is targeted at specialist areas.

Ms Wood added that she was "not convinced" the UK government's prevent anti-extremism strategy was working, claiming it could "encourage divisions" within communities.

Expert view - from Nye Davies of Cardiff University's Wales Governance Centre

Plaid Cymru's slogan for the forthcoming election on 8 June is "defending Wales". To some this may well conjure up images of Llywelyn the Last and Owain Glyndwr. The party's rhetoric has focused on protecting Wales from Conservative attacks and their immediate threat. This is a message that is likely to play well in the seats the party currently holds, but can the party venture beyond west and north west Wales?

The problem facing Plaid Cymru is that it has tended to do much better in elections to Cardiff Bay than it has at Westminster. To illustrate this point, the party holds six constituencies in the assembly, but only three in Parliament. If the latest Welsh Political Barometer poll is anything to go by, this snap election shouldn't deviate from this trend for the party.

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