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Friday, January 01, 2010

A straw man

After 13 years of government and reams of legislation, you would have thought that having come to power promising to tackle crime and the root causes of crime, Labour might have cracked it by now. Alas that is not the case and the frustration is beginning to show.

That is evident in the remarks of Justice Secretary, Jack Straw who has decided that he is going to blame the police for his own failure to deliver on Labour promises.

In today's Guardian, Mr. Straw puts forward the view that some police officers prefer staying in the warmth of the police station than getting out on the beat. That is a gross slur on the professionalism of a hard-working but under-resourced profession.

The Justice Secretary is undoubtedly right when he says that good leadership can be the difference between a top-performing police force and one that is failing to meet all its targets but Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, also has a valid point.

He said that Mr. Straw's remarks were irresponsible and inflammatory: "It wasn't police officers who brought in 3,000 new laws. It wasn't police officers who brought in a 30-page prosecution file. And it wasn't police officers who brought in multiple forms and authorities to use a pair of binoculars." Exactly!
Criticism of Westminster personalities is fair game, Mr Straw deserves what you throw at him; but returning to Wales I would ask "what lasting legacy, positive or negative, has the WAG created during the decade of its existence".

An important question for the public who are going to be asked to approve extending powers within the 20 devolved areas to the Welsh Assembly Government.

Should we trust the WAG to create a better place or should we keep faith with Westminster?
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