'Devolve policing' says South Wales PCC Alun Michael

Alun Michael Alun Michael says devolving policing powers would bring about a 'joined-up approach' to crime reduction

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Police and crime commissioner (PCC) Alun Michael has called for powers over policing to be devolved to Wales.

Mr Michael, the south Wales PCC, said it would "enable a joined-up approach to be taken to crime reduction and the building of healthy communities".

The Welsh government has already called for the powers and also longer term for power over the criminal justice system.

The Silk Commission will make its recommendation on further powers for Wales next spring.

Mr Michael, a former Home Office minister, said creating the four Welsh commissioners meant that in practice Whitehall has already devolved decision-making about most police activity.

He said the four Welsh commissioners "despite their political range (two Independents, one Conservative, one Labour and Co-operative) have immediately started to work together on Wales-wide issues, with some excellent and fruitful meetings with Welsh government."

Writing in the Institute of Welsh Affairs journal, he added: "So common sense, pragmatism and purpose have brought about de facto devolution and it's only a question of when the machinery of government will catch up".

In February First Minister Carwyn Jones called for policing to be devolved.

Mr Jones said then: "Decisions that affect Wales should be taken in Wales."

Policing and criminal justice were now "the only mainstream public services which are not devolved to Wales", and this status quo "is becoming increasingly hard to justify", he added.

The Silk Commission is examining the future of devolution in Wales and has already recommended some tax-varying powers.

The commission's full report is due to be published in spring 2014.

A Wales Office spokesperson said: "The Government's evidence made clear our position in relation to this issue.

"It is for the Commission to consider the evidence before it and to make recommendations which we will consider when we receive them next year."

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