It's Amazing How Ignorant Politicians Are about How the Laws They Form Work out on the Streets. MPs Come from Many Walks of Life, but in the Last Parliament There Was Not One Former Police Officer. However, as David Williamson Found out, All That Could Change This Time Around

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Byline: David Williamson

FORMER police officers across Wales could be beating their way to Parliament in the General Election. All the main parties have chosen former policemen to contestWelsh seats during the current election, in the belief that the skills honed on the streets can be put to use in Westminster.

That fact has been welcomed by Conservative Monmouth MP David Davies, who, as a special constable, is the closest thing that the last House of Commons had to a former officer.

Mr Davies said it was "incredible" that there were no former police officers in the House of Commons and hoped this would change.

He said: "I think they can bring enormous experience. At the end of the day we are making legislation, a lot of which has to be enforced by the police...

"It is amazing how ignorant politicians are about how the laws they form work out on the streets."

Phil Edwards, a former secretary of the Police Federation, is Plaid's man in the new marginal constituency of Aberconwy, where Labour is also fighting to dash Conservative hopes of victory.

Dylan Rees, a former police inspector, is standing for the party in Ynys Mn. The seat is held in the National Assembly by Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones and Mr Rees is seeking to overturn Labour's slender majority of 1,242.

Mr Edwards, the former Mayor of Colwyn Bay, said: "Our unique blend of skills and experience make us ideal candidates as MPs that will really make a difference."

Mr Rees added:"We are constantly being told that the public want to see more bobbies on the beat and not sitting in police stations overwhelmed by bureaucracy."

Plaid has also selected Arfon Jones to stand in Wrexham, where he was once operational inspector. He has the daunting task of taking Plaid from fourth place and overturning Labour's majority of 6,819.

Mr Jones is calling for the Assembly to gain responsibility for policing.

He said: "The current system, where some powers are held in Wales and others in Westminster, causes confusion and the potential for Wales to lose out." Byron Davies, who served with London's Metropolitan Police and helped build up local forces in ex-Commuist countries, including Romania and Bulgaria, is the Conservative candidate for Gower. He wants to overturn a 6,703 Labour majority.

He insists that many police officers respond with compassion when confronted with social problems. He said: "What really annoys me is this idea of policemen being very right-wing... I really do feel for a lot of people brought up in those communities because they have no chance whatsoever."

A priority for him is stopping policing being treated as a "political football".

He said: "I'd like to bring an understanding of what policing is about. Certainly, in the last few years with the Labour Party [we have] had dreadful knee-jerk reactions to a lot of issues and legislation which has been quite useless."

Mr Davies wants officers to be trusted with the authority to "think on their feet" and make decisions.

He believes Wales does not need four separate police forces and the system could be reformed, saying: "The whole thing is quite ridiculous. It's not needed. …