In his evidence to the Silk Commission Prof. Martin Innes said that although there were likely benefits with devolving responsibility for policing in Wales in terms of local policing delivery, the process did present some risks in other areas and raised issues around the question of devolving other parts of the criminal justice system.
Commenting on the overall benefits Innes stated “Most crime and disorder is local in nature. The ability to configure local governance and accountability with delivery in order that policing understands local communities and their needs, and is able to be responsive to these seems to me a cornerstone of more effective and legitimate policing. This degree of flex in terms of policing rural and urban contexts would be positive.”
The “principal risks accumulate around what are some time referred to as ‘high policing’ functions [and] the possible change related to matters of public order, counter-terrorism and serious organised crime.” Innes goes on to say that although these are not insurmountable challenges, remaining connected to UK agencies and structures would be key.
Given these considerations “partial devolution would be the most workable solution for Wales in terms of accruing benefits to local policing, whilst managing risks in respect of national security functions.”