'No sense' in having four Welsh forces says police chief as he renews calls for merger

Dr Richard Lewis argues major savings could be made by pooling resources.

There are renewed calls for Wales’ four police forces to be merged into one by the Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police.

Dr Richard Lewis says there’s “no sense” in having four separate forces, and that a nationwide ‘Wales Police’ should be formed, as part of a new documentary programme on S4C following his first year as Chief Constable.

Dyfed Powys Police’s Chief Constable said: “I believe that I should be the last chief constable of Dyfed Powys.

"This is my personal view. I do not speak on behalf of Dyfed Powys, certainly on behalf of the commissioner, I don’t speak on behalf of the other 3 chief constables in Wales because some of them will disagree with this.”

Dr Richard Lewis says he wants to be the last Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police.

He currently leads the largest geographical police area in England and Wales - covering Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys.

Dr Richard Lewis argues major savings could be made by pooling resources “If we don't we will have four HR systems, four IT systems, four systems for everything."

He said: "Well, that makes no sense. Wales Police is the future”

The are currently four forces in Wales; Dyfed Powys Police, South Wales Police, Gwent Police and North Wales Police.

The regional structure was scrapped in Northern Ireland in 2001 to create one force, with the same happening in Scotland ten years ago.

But, not everybody in the sector agrees with Dr Lewis' calls for major reform.

The move to merge police forces has already been made in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

South Wales Police’ commissioner Alun Michael has defended the current model. 

He said: “The idea of one police force for Wales is totally bonkers.”

“As the former Chief Inspector of the Constabulary said, there is nothing that can be achieved through merger that couldn't be achieved through cooperation.”

“The history of large police forces is not a good one, it would be a big mistake.

"It would extend the hierarchy to the point where there's not a connection between the top of the force and those who are doing the work out in our communities.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The existing police force structure in Wales ensures everyone has a direct say on policing in their area through their locally elected and accountable Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

“Police officers in Wales do a fantastic job and we are committed to ensuring forces have the resources to fight crime. That’s why we have recruited 1,126 additional officers in Wales and increased their funding by £37.1m compared to 2022/23.”

You can watch the full 'Y Prif' programme on S4C and S4C Clic tonight at 9pm.

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