South Wales claims victory against merged police force

The South Wales Argus has claimed a campaign victory after four Welsh police forces scrapped plans to merge in to a "superforce".

As soon as an announcement was made in September the Argus said it led the fight to block the plans rallying support from readers and local politicians opposed to the idea of a merged force in Wales.

Argus editor Gerry Keighley said: "We fought this battle, against a bullish home secretary (Charles Clarke) and equally dogmatic secretary of state for Wales (Peter Hain), because we believed that creating a superforce would be bad for our readers,

"Peter Hain accused us of jeopardising the safety of the Welsh public, but that was just a politicians trying fair means or foul to get their own way.

"How could neighbourhood policing, which is what really matters to communities, be given the priority it deserves if a single Welsh chief constable was having his strings pulled from Westminster by the home secretary.

"While nobody would underplay the terrorism threat or the battle against drug cartels it is anti-social behaviour that is the key concern of ordinary people. The police minister now accepts that collaboration between the police and the intelligence services is the best way to fight the terrorists. He also accepts that the Clarke plan was ill conceived and financially untenable."

The Argus was praised for its campaign by politicians and the chairman of Gwent Police Authority Geraint Price-Thomas, who said: "We've got to congratulate the Argus locally for a well-fought campaign."

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