Don't devolve policing powers, says Islwyn MP

8:46am Friday 14th March 2014

A GWENT Labour MP has said youth justice, policing and speed limits shouldn’t be devolved to the control of the National Assembly for Wales.

Chris Evans, the MP for Islwyn, has dismissed several of the significant proposals of the Silk Commission, adding that the 60-member chamber did not need more AMs.

He told the Argus: “We’re too busy spending our time on constitutional nightmares.”

“If you were sitting there now and you were ill, or you had a child going through the educational system, you would be asking serious questions why the Assembly and other commentators are so obsessed by constitutional matters, when really there needs to be a focus on the things the Assembly does at the moment.”

Mr Evans said a situation has developed where the devolution settlement in Wales is constantly being looked at.

There hasn’t been a chance to see how legislative powers granted after a referendum in 2011 were panning out before commissioning other reports for further powers, the MP argued.

Earlier this month the Silk Commission said youth justice, policing and speed limits should be devolved to the control of the National Assembly for Wales.

But Mr Evans, who was elected in 2010, said the issues surrounding criminal justice and policing were “very very complicated”.

“I do not agree with the reasons for devolving policing or youth justice at the moment.

“There are so many cross border issues that need to be looked at in some way,” he told the Argus.

“What are we looking at? Different sentences for different crimes in Wales? Those are the real questions that need to be answered.”

Mr Evans asked what would happen if, for argument sake, the English maximum speed limit was set to 80 but the Welsh remained at 70, but a motorist was caught at 80 by a speed camera on the Welsh side of the Severn Crossings.

He said: “Does that mean that what you have done is legal in England but illegal in Wales?”

He also didn’t agree with another Silk proposal which said that the Assembly should have more AMs: “I think the number they have at the moment is fine.”


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