Jonathan Edwards says he has cause to scrutinise minutes of Police Air Service meetings
Questions need to be asked as to what exactly the Dyfed Powys Police Commissioner signed up to according to MP Jonathan Edwards after the Secretary of State for Wales avoided his Parliamentary question on the police helicopter last week.
The Plaid Cymru MP says he will now be seeking the minutes of the National Police Air Service (NPAS) Strategic Board meetings - of which Dyfed Powys Police Commissioner Christopher Salmon is a member – to scrutinise the recent discussions and decisions passed.
Jonathan Edwards was selected to question Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb on Wednesday. Mr Edwards asked that Mr Crabb meet with him to discuss the police helicopter announcement that will see the £2million state-of-the-art Pembrey base close on January 1st 2016. Mr Edwards also requested the Secretary of State seeks the involvement of the Home Secretary as the Minister responsible for policing.
Stephen Crabb MP, who represents a constituency in the Dyfed Powys police force area, avoided the question and it was left to Wales Office Minister, Alun Cairns MP, to respond on behalf of the Westminster government. The response, Jonathan Edwards says, has raised serious questions about what the Police Commissioner has agreed since the announcing the deal to save Pembrey in November.
The Minister congratulating the Commissioner for a deal that will see the helicopter scrapped is "quite suspect", Jonathan Edwards said.
Mr Edwards says he is now going after the minutes of the NPAS Strategic Board meetings, which usually meets quarterly, but met in December, January and February, to try an ascertain what proposals the Police Commissioner has subsequently signed up to.
As it stands, Mr Edwards said, he could reach no other conclusion than to say the residents of Dyfed Powys had been "completely let down".
Jonathan Edwards MP said:
"It's quite suspect that the Minister was quick to congratulate his Tory colleague on saving money, but made absolutely no mention to the reality that we will lose our police helicopter.
"The Police Commissioner announced just four months ago that he had secured the future of the helicopter and the Pembrey base, but NPAS has now reneged on that deal.
"That Ministers are now spinning this as a good news story leaves me highly suspicious and raises serious questions about what has been agreed in the last few months. Indeed the Minister’s response to my Parliamentary question suggests the Commissioner has fully signed up to the removal of the police helicopter from Pembrey.
“I believe there is cause to scrutinise the recent decisions reached by the NPAS Strategic Board – of which Mr Salmon is a member – and I have therefore requested minutes of those meetings.
"As it stands, I am unable to reach any other conclusion than to say, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the Commissioner has completely let down the residents of Dyfed Powys. I can, however, assure residents that I do not intend to stop on the campaign to save our local helicopter.”