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Policing and Devolution: The ‘Special Case’ of Wales

28 July 2022

Policing has been transformed in Wales by the advent of devolution, according to an academic article co-authored by Dr Rob Jones of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre.

The paper, written by Dr Jones, Swansea University’s Dr Michael Harrison and Cardiff’s Professor Trevor Jones, provides the first detailed account of the impact that devolution has made on policing in Wales.

Published in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, the article argues that while policing powers have not been devolved to Wales (in contrast to Scotland and Northern Ireland), political devolution has nonetheless transformed the operation of Welsh policing.

Relationships between the Welsh police forces and devolved public sector bodies are now deeply entrenched, with the devolved Welsh Government and its policy aims having now become integral to the operation and delivery of Welsh policing services. The paper draws attention to examples of Welsh distinctiveness including the Welsh Government’s additional funding for Police Community Support Officers policy as well as divergence in Covid-19 regulations.

The paper notes that debates about institutionally and legislatively devolving responsibility for policing to the Welsh Government continue to develop, reinforcing the view that devolution has created a ‘special case’ in Wales.

Dr Jones continues to develop his research at the Wales Governance Centre through publications and data collection and leads the Centre’s work on criminal justice.