Caerphilly AM Jeff Cuthbert, who is standing down from the National Assembly in May next year, has said he intends to seek the Labour Party’s nomination for the Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election.
Mr Cuthbert, who has been an Assembly Member since 2003, said: “I believe that the post of PCC is very much about building partnerships between the police service and the communities that they serve.
“These duties were very much part of my role when I was the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty. In particular I had a significant role in building trust and good relationships with vulnerable groups such as minority ethnic and religious communities and key public services including the police.
“Policing is not yet a devolved matter but the Welsh Government must be seen as a major partner given that the major public services such as health, housing, education and transport are devolved.”
Former councillor Darren Jones, from Blackwood, has been chosen by Plaid Cymru as their candidate for the PCC election, which takes place on the same day as the Assembly election in May next year.
Married with two sons, Mr Jones is a Cluster Manager for the lower Cynon Valley within the Communities First Tackling Poverty programme.
He was a Caerphilly county councillor between 1998 and 2004 and was the youngest Cabinet member in Wales in 1999 when Plaid took control of the authority.
He said: “One of the things that should be looked into is a review of all Commissioner-assisted services to see what delivers and what doesn’t. Some of the schemes do not appear to be producing results.
“As a Community First cluster manager, I work with young people who are first-time offenders and I help them back into employment. If elected as Police Commissioner, I’m looking at introducing schemes that help people back into employment as a means of tackling the causes of crime.”
The role of a Police and Crime Commissioner is to oversee their police force in terms of strategy and finance – they effectively set the direction and budget for Chief Constables.
The current PCC for Gwent, ex-police officer Ian Johnston, has not yet indicated if he will stand for a second time.
Mr Johnston, who was elected as an independent candidate, has previously clashed with Mr Cuthbert and Labour MPs Wayne David and Chris Evans while in his role, with them being critical on how former Chief Constable Carmel Napier was “forced to retire”.
Mr Johnston has recently claimed that the Welsh Government had not accepted PCCs and that its attitude had “made life difficult”.
He told the BBC that Labour’s attitude to PCCs was “not helpful” and added: “It’s a really difficult job if the ministers aren’t engaging with you and are still engaging with chief constables.”
The Welsh Government said it worked closely with police and had developed a productive working relationships with commissioners.