Jeff Cuthbert
Jeff Cuthbert Credit: LDRS

As Wales marks 25 years of devolution this week, the man stepping down as Gwent’s police and crime commissioner has renewed calls for Westminster to hand over responsibilities for policing and justice.

Jeff Cuthbert, who spent 13 years as a then-Assembly Member before taking up the PCC role, said the devolution of the justice system is “the right way to go”.

Scotland and Northern Ireland already have powers to control policing and justice, but in Wales these responsibilities have not been devolved and remain in Westminster’s hands.

Mr Cuthbert said that devolving justice would help policing decision-makers “engage more directly with our partners” in other areas of government.

He said this is something “we do quite well now” but “can be far better-coordinated with health, with local government, and other major players if we’re all under the one roof”. 

Mr Cuthbert added: “Policing is devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland, to London, and places like Manchester – so why not to the functioning Welsh Government as well?

“It seems to make sense to me.”

The UK Government set up the Silk Commission in 2011 to review devolution in Wales, and despite the commission’s recommendations to devolve policing and youth justice by 2017 – and reviewing the wider justice system by 2025 – no new legislation has come forward.

Jane Mudd last week won the election to succeed Mr Cuthbert, who is retiring, as Gwent’s PCC – whose job it is to hold the local police force to account.

She suggested the devolution of justice is something which could happen if there is a change of government in Westminster.

“We know that if we have a new Labour government, they’ve been very keen to explore that and explore particularly the devolution of youth justice and probation,” said Cllr Mudd, who currently leads Newport City Council.

“So we’ll see how that goes, and I’m sure we will have that Labour government,” she added.