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Welsh councils' joy as assembly defies Home Office

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Politics in Wales is in uncharted territory after the National Assembly for Wales threw out proposals for policing reform.

The government wanted to impose police commissioners and crime panels in Wales, replacing police authorities in the same way as is planned in England.

Policing is not devolved to the assembly, but local government is, and so the UK government needed the assembly’s consent to legislate on this.

Its refusal of consent – a step the assembly has never previously taken – has sparked a complex constitutional dispute between it and the Home Office over which body will prevail in Wales.

The Welsh Local Government Association welcomed the assembly’s defiance. Deputy leader Russell Roberts (Lab) said: “We are fully supportive of the assembly’s decision.

“We are of the strong view that the Home Office’s plans are flawed.”

He said the panels would “have little real power or say over how policing is undertaken across communities in Wales, yet local authorities will have a duty to set them up.

“This will add significant pressure to local authority budgets at a time when the financial challenges are already huge.”

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