I was elected to the post of Welsh lead for the PSA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) this year and I see this as a role which is about information sharing, collaboration and partnership.
I have served in Dyfed-Powys Police for 25 years, during which I have spent the majority of my career working in CID at all ranks and across a number of departments. I also spent 18 months working in Tarian, the Welsh Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU).
I’m a proud Welsh citizen and officer, but there’s no doubt that understanding Welsh devolution and the intricacies of where power and responsibility lie is complex. Don’t worry, I’m not going to attempt to explain this in this very short blog that I hope you are enjoying over a browse through social media whilst you have 5 minutes’ peace!
Even though Wales has a devolved Government with its own powers, the police in Wales are still the responsibility of the Home Office and therefore this can present unique challenges. I hope this begins to explain why there is a dedicated ‘reserve seat’ for Welsh issues on our Association’s NEC, our policy making body.
With new relationships being formed between the police and Welsh Government, the PSA began a proactive involvement in this process. Our current President, Paul Griffiths, a fellow Welsh officer, was able to use his insight and experience to write the Association’s response to the Silk Commission on Devolution in Wales.
Since the Silk Commission, the level of devolved powers has continued to grow and the political environment for policing in Wales sometimes differs to that of England. This has been demonstrated recently in the Coronavirus Health Protection Regulations which police had to enforce differently across the two nations.
This is why the Welsh reserve seat was created as part of the NEC. It was clear there needed to be a permanent representative to voice and discuss these important issues. The growing differences between policing in England and Wales and the relationships with other agencies must be recognised and embraced across the entire sector, but also within our Association. We have a duty to support and influence our members and the wider Service in both countries.
It’s great to see that inroads have already been made here. Paul is the second Welsh officer to hold the office of PSA President and he has used this opportunity to develop relationships with the Deputy Minister and key Welsh Government officials. He gave evidence to the Thomas Commission, has secured funding for health screening for 6000 current and retired Welsh officers, and today, for the first time, the PSA President will attend the meeting of the Welsh Chief Officer Group.
Going forward, I hope to serve as a representative of the PSA, supporting Paul and the team by ensuring we have a good awareness of the issues affecting Wales and any work identified as a result. It’s through this enhanced representation and the sharing/understanding of information and experiences, that we can make sure our work as an Association and the wider Service is as effective as possible.