WALES should be given control over policing as part of further devolution to Cardiff Bay, according to First Minister Carwyn Jones.
Mr Jones said Wales is treated as a “second-class nation” by the UK government as he criticised its failure to devolve the policy area.
While Scotland and Northern Ireland have control over police, Welsh police forces are accountable to the Home Office in London.
Responding to a question from Dai Lloyd AM (Plaid Cymru) during First Minister’s questions, Mr Jones declared his support for police powers being transferred to Wales.
He said: “Policing should be devolved. There’s no reason at all—not at all—why policing should be devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland, should be devolved to Manchester, to London, but not to Wales. There is no rational reason for that to be the case.
“We know that there will need to be co-operation in terms of counter-terrorism; there are some issues that need to be dealt with at UK level.
“(But) when it comes to community policing, why is it that Wales is seen as a second-class nation by the Tories?”
However, Mr Jones’ position puts him sharply at odds with UK Labour party policy. Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott told BBC Radio Wales last week there are no plans to transfer competency over police.
“We don’t think it’s right at this time to devolve policing but this is something that there’s constant discussion about inside the Labour party,” she said.
The most recent transfer of powers from Westminster to Cardiff Bay took place with the passing of the Wales Act 2017 in January, which concerned areas including energy, transport and income tax.
The Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns predicted the Act would end “the constant squabbles over where powers lie” and declared a “new era of devolution.”
The law failed to incorporate all of the recommendations to strengthen devolution put forward by the Silk Commission in 2014. Power over policing was included among the recommendations.