Police

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 29th November 2006.

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Photo of Stephen Crabb Stephen Crabb Conservative, Preseli Pembrokeshire 11:30 am, 29th November 2006

What discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the implementation of neighbourhood policing in Wales.

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

I have had a number of such discussions, because effective neighbourhood policing is absolutely vital.

Photo of Stephen Crabb Stephen Crabb Conservative, Preseli Pembrokeshire

The Secretary of State will share the sense of shock felt by many in Pembrokeshire at the fatal stabbing last week of Lance Corporal Kinnon Ragni outside a Haverfordwest nightclub. He may also be aware that the Dyfed-Powys police authority has been unable to take up the offer of accelerated funding from the Home Office for new community support officers from 2008 because of serious concerns about a funding shortfall. Will the Secretary of State sit down with the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety and ensure that this issue is resolved, because more than ever, my constituents need some reassurance and action on crime and community safety?

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

I join the hon. Gentleman in condemning that evil attack. For reasons that are a matter for the chief constable of Dyfed-Powys—he has other policing priorities—he has decided not to draw down the extra funding for community support officers. The hon. Gentleman will know, however, that crime doubled under the Conservatives and police numbers fell every year from 1993. Under Labour in Wales, we have had more CSOs than ever before—270, rising to 700 next year—and 1,000 extra police officers, 157 of whom are in the hon. Gentleman's Dyfed-Powys authority. That is a very good record on policing from Labour in Wales.

Photo of Jennifer Willott Jennifer Willott Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Education)

As the Secretary of State will know, Cardiff is one of the areas piloting the 101 non-emergency number alongside 999. Following recent news that the roll-out of the programme is being delayed, supposedly because of cost, does he agree that if the Welsh police forces had not been forced to waste £900,000 on the abandoned police force merger, the money could have been used instead to roll out 101 in support of community policing across Wales?

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Peter Hain made a statement in reply to you that did not answer your question, yet you did not follow up. Does this mean that you just wanted to be on the record as having asked a question, but didn't really care enough about the issue to illicit the information that you...

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Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

The 101 facility is important and the hon. Lady is right to raise it, but I remind her that there has been a massive increase in funding for Welsh police forces under this Government, including 1,000 extra police officers and 270 extra community support officers, rising to 700 next year, to the benefit of her constituency and every other constituency in Wales. It is under Labour that policing has been supported in Wales and she should welcome that.