Saturday, 18 September 2010

Welsh dragon badge for police uniform.

Despite being one of his biggest critics, I always knew there would come a day when I would miss Richard Brunstrom. I don't miss him because of policing methods but I miss him for his commitment to Wales as a nation and to the Welsh language as a living working language in North Wales. In August 2007, Richard Brunstrom decided to introduce a Welsh Dragon badge (Y Ddraig Goch) to North Wales Police uniforms. At the launch of the initiative at the Mold Eisteddfod Mr Brunstrom said;
"I'm sure you will agree that the new badges look splendid, symbolic of the reemergence of Wales as a true nation, of which we are proud."

The decision was met with a mixed response both internally and externally with many inside the organisation claiming that it 'politicised' the Force; (and I thought Welsh symbols belonged to the people of Wales and not to political parties!)

The most vociferous political opponent was Clwyd West's AM and ex Police Authority member, Darren Millar who said,
"I think it's a barmy idea. It is going to cost more money to produce these badges at a time when they are taking bobbies off the beat and they are cash strapped,"

Who else but a Tory would say that a display of Welsh national identity was 'barmy.'?

Well it seems that North Wales Police still contain plenty of them little Englanders on whom Richard Brunstrom has had little influence and who now seek to reverse the tide towards a Welsh civic identity made under his command.

In this quarter's Focus/Link (Joint publication between North Wales Police and the Police Federation), the Force's Clothing Committee have recommended that 'the dragon insignia' is removed from the uniform apparently for cost reasons.

This is a retrograde step in the development of Welsh civic society with it's uniquely Welsh institutions and an attempt to take us back to the bland uniformity of the Police Service of England and Wales. If we are getting rid of one insignia for cost reasons, are we getting rid of the other, the Germanic three ostrich feathers from the helmets and dress uniform epaulettes; and the Force emblem topped with the Crown?

It would appear from the report that this decision was made by the Chief Officers despite the fact that the wearing of insignia is not an operational matter but more of a policy matter for the Police Authority and I wonder if it has been discussed by them?, I doubt it.

1 comment:

Alun Williams said...

What a disgraceful decision, Deserves a thorough airing then hopefully there'll be a backlash. Well done for highlighting it.