Former Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, Arfon Jones, has called for Wales’ four commissioners to join the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).

The WLGA is a politically led cross party organisation that seeks to give local authorities a strong collective voice at Welsh Government level.

The Association represents all 22 local authorities in Wales, the three fire and rescue authorities and the three national park authorities.

To date, Wales’ Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are not members, with powers over policing and justice not devolved to the Senedd.

Mr Jones, who stood down from his role as PCC at the recent election believes the move would provide greater collaboration and cooperation.

Mr Jones told The National: “In the last five years, the relationship between non devolved systems in Wales and the Welsh Government has improved immensely.

“The relationship between policing and Welsh Government is very good, but that doesn’t transfer down to a local government level.

“What is missing is the relationship with local government and the further pooling of resources, and membership of the APCC, doesn’t register with partnerships in Wales.”

The National Wales:

Currently, Wales’ four PCCs are members of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), a body that helps PCCs influence at a national level.

However, with just four PCCs in Wales – representing forces in North Wales, Dyfed Powys, South Wales and Gwent – compared to 36 English commissioners, Mr Jones believes they should leave the ‘right wing Tory dominated’ association.

An outspoken critic of the UK Government’s Home Office and home secretary Priti Patel, Mr Jones continued: “There are two broad views on criminal justice and policing.

“One extreme is the view that criminals should be locked away and the key thrown away. Then, the other view is treating crime as a public health issue with early intervention methods.

“We are creating a policing vision for 2030, but in Wales we decided to write our own vision, because we don’t agree with what is being done in England. Yes, we all want to reduce crime, but how we go about doing that is now very different."

Mr Jones, an advocate of devolving justice and policing to the Welsh Government, acknowledged that the Home Office may see it as a move to devolve justice, but said he doesn’t think the UK Government “has a say over whether individuals can walk away”.

READ MORE:

Jeff Cuthbert, Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, was guarded on Mr Jones’ proposals when asked whether he supports them.

Mr Cuthbert told The National: “We already have a good working relationship with local authorities through the Public Service Boards, and with Welsh Government at an all-Wales level through the Policing Partnership Board on which the local authorities are also represented.

“I am unsure what additional benefits membership of the WLGA would bring but I am certainly happy to discuss the suggestion in more detail.”

WLGA have been approached for comment.

If you value The National's political journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.