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Andrew RT Davies has written to Suella Braverman asking her to step in.
In his letter he writes: ‘Political and operational leadership of Gwent Police has lost control and I have no confidence in the ability of Gwent Police Chief Executive or the Police and Crime Commissioner in the region, these deeply rooted cultural problems to address problems currently.
“I am writing to ask you to consider moving the force into special measures. I fear the rot may be so deep that the force will need to be rebuilt to give confidence to the public and the majority of decent Gwent Police officers and staff.”
Gwent Police have asked another force, Wiltshire, to investigate the allegations following the release of texts and other messages on a phone belonging to former officer Ricky Jones, who took his own life in 2020.
The messages contained racist, sexist and misogynistic comments. The Sunday Times later reported that other officers exchanged nude photos of a footballer and joked about “sex tensions” in the squad.
On Tuesday, Ricky Jones’ daughter told BBC Wales that the allegations should be investigated by the independent Bureau of Police Conduct rather than any other police force.
That call was made by Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies in the weekly First Minister’s Question Time, where he first said he had no confidence.
Mr Davies told Senedd members: “I have no faith in the top leadership of the Gwent force, be it at officer level or at police and crime inspector level.
“These revelations are appalling, to say the least.”
He continued: “I have said I have no confidence in the ability of Gwent Police Management to rectify the situation. I asked you in the first question: do you have confidence?”
In response, Lesley Griffiths, standing in for Mark Drakeford, said: “I have faith. As I said before, the Secretary of Social Justice has met with both the Chief Constable and the Federal Court [Police and Crime Commissioner] to discuss the concerns. As far as I know, she did not have another meeting.
“You mentioned comments that the family have made and it’s really important that obviously people who want to voice their concerns if they’ve been a victim of a crime have confidence in the police and that’s why it’s so important that these allegations were dealt with immediately, which was certainly the case.
“I am aware, for example, that the former chief prosecutor, Nazir Afzal, has called for a national inquiry into this issue and I know that the Minister for Social Justice is apparently using Gwent to pass this on to the police and myself. I’m sure she will seek another meeting regarding comments you referred to that were made by the family.
But when Andrew RT Davies pushed her for the idea of a national inquiry, she said it was for UK government ministers to decide.
She said: “In relation to the question of whether a national inquiry is required, the police are obviously a reserved matter for the UK Government and it is really up to them to decide whether they think an inquiry should take place.”
Calls on the Home Secretary to act on the Gwent Police allegations
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