Election 2017

Labour 'committed to devolving policing'

Wayne David
Image caption Wayne David said Labour's manifesto would give Welsh ministers a larger role in policing

Labour is firmly committed to devolved policing, according to its general election campaign chairman in Wales.

Opponents rounded on shadow home secretary Diane Abbott on Tuesday, accusing her of failing to explain her party's policy.

But Wayne David said Welsh party colleagues have "more of an ear to the ground than perhaps Diane".

Labour's manifesto would give Welsh ministers a bigger role in policing, he told BBC Wales.

It is something First Minister Carwyn Jones's Welsh Government has called for.

The Conservatives have ruled out the devolution of policing, while Plaid Cymru accused Labour of not fighting hard enough in Westminster to make it happen.

Image caption Diane Abbott said the devolution of policing is something Labour was in "constant discussion" about

Mr David was responding to a BBC Radio Wales interview by Ms Abbott on Tuesday when she said "we don't think it's right at this time to devolve policing, but this is something there's constant discussion about inside the Labour Party".

She later said: "We will make our position clear on this in the coming weeks."

Mr David said Labour's 2015 manifesto was very clear "that we favoured, at that time, an all-Wales plan drawn up by Welsh ministers".

"That will certainly be in the manifesto, but is likely to be embellished upon and the final details are being worked on as we speak.

"The Labour Party is firmly committed to extending devolution."

"It is still being discussed," he added.

"Because we are in Wales we have got a little bit more of an ear to the ground than perhaps Diane.

"But nevertheless I can tell you that the Labour Party is firmly committed to strong policing, to neighbourhood policing and devolved policing as well."

However he denied Ms Abbott had got her facts wrong.

She was also criticised for failing to explain how Labour would fund plans to employ 10,000 more officers, 853 of them in Wales.

What do other parties think?

For the Conservatives, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said: "The reality is that crime doesn't stop at administrative borders, it doesn't stop at the Welsh border.

"We want a strong police force properly funded by a strong leader delivering a strong economy that can pay for those essential public services."

Plaid candidate Liz Saville Roberts said: "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. "

UKIP's leader in the assembly, Neil Hamilton, said the party did not have a policy on it, but he was personally "very favourable to devolving further powers... because I think we need to make the government in Cardiff more responsible for the things that are done in Wales".

Former Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Lord German - whose party has backed devolving policing - said: "The shadow home secretary couldn't even give an answer on whether policing should be devolved to Wales."

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