Welsh Tory leader calls on Home Secretary to place Gwent Police in ‘special measures’
Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew R T Davies has asked Home Secretary Suella Braverman to place Gwent Police in ‘special measures,’ following claims of misogyny, racism and homophobia.
This follows an investigation by the Sunday Times that revealed a culture of misogyny, corruption, abuse and racism in the force.
Wiltshire Police Force is currently set to investigate the claims.
The latest scandal comes after three officers were dismissed from the Force over summer due to inappropriate behaviour.
The family of former Gwent Police officer Ricky Jones, at the centre of the investigation, have said they have no trust in the police.
Ricky Jones, a seemingly respected officer who retired from Gwent Police in 2017, took his own life three years later.
His widow and daughter said he was controlling and abusive at home.
In a letter to the Home Secretary, Andrew R T Davies wrote: “The political and operational leadership in Gwent Police have lost control, and I have no confidence in the ability of the Gwent Police senior leadership or the Police and Crime Commissioner in the area to tackle these deep-rooted cultural issues at present.
“That view is shared by Emma, the daughter of the late officer Ricky Jones, the subject of the Sunday Times report, who found the messages that sparked the Sunday Times story on her late father’s phone.
“Emma feared going to Gwent Police over her father’s abuse or her and her mother because he had ‘sorted’ it with other officers.
“I know there will be many people across Gwent, especially women, who also lack confidence in the senior leadership to stamp out this culture.
“I am asking you to consider placing the force in special measures. I fear the rot may be so deep that the force needs to be rebuilt in order to give confidence to the public and the majority of decent police officers and staff in Gwent Police.”
In First Minister’s Questions yesterday, Mr Davies had asked the Welsh Government if it has confidence in Gwent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Jeff Cuthbert to investigate and address the serious concerns surrounding the Force.
Commenting afterwards, he said: “Like the poor family who suffered at the hands of Ricky Jones, I have no confidence in the senior management of Gwent Police, and it is appalling that such a disgusting culture was allowed to metastasise among a previously trusted Welsh public service.
“33 women a week face domestic violence or fear for their life or injury, yet Gwent Police fostered this dangerous environment all the under the leadership of a Police and Crime Commissioner who seems to be asleep at the wheel.
“I am quite disappointed that the minister was unable to confirm whether or not the Labour Government think there should be a national public inquiry – surely this is not an issue someone can be neutral on.
“What people across South-east Wales need is trust in their police and leadership from those elected to positions of influence to get a grip on the situation to ruthlessly root out bad actors from public service and transparently impose positive change.”
Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for a full inquiry into the claimed misconduct in Gwent Police stating that the evidence that has come to light warrants a full independent investigation if trust in the Force is to be restored.
The party has also questioned whether Jeff Cuthbert should still be in place.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “Trust in the Force has clearly been undermined to a point where a full independent inquiry is required.
“The failure to tackle this appalling behaviour on the part of some officers is failing the public and the majority of brave police who put their lives at risk to keep us all safe.
“What has been revealed over the course of the last few weeks is deeply disturbing.
“It has also not yet been made clear whether Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert was aware of any of these allegations before the story broke in the Times. If not, how was he able to oversee a Force with such serious problems without being aware?
“It is difficult to see how he should remain in post.
“With allegations of serious misconduct in a multitude of police forces, including the Met, I do not believe an investigation by another police force is sufficient.”
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