Faith has played an instrumental role in the history of Wales.
It has helped to shape and symbolise our shared cultural values such as resilience, hard work, community spiritedness, and a positive pioneering outlook.
Gwent is no stranger to multiculturalism, enriched as it is with the history and diversity of all those that have called it home across the centuries. Multiculturalism has thrived, with a wide range of traditions, cultures and religions all contributing to the social and ethnic diversity we see today.
Understanding matters surrounding faith and religion is vital for any police service seeking confidence and cohesion within its local communities.
As Police and Crime Commissioner, part of my role is to hold the Chief Constable to account for the way that policing services are delivered in Gwent. This includes ensuring that anyone who has dealings with the police are treated equally, and with fairness and respect.
The Chief Constable and I have recently published our joint Strategic Equality Plan that embeds the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion into everything we do. It aims to challenge discrimination and links to my Police and Crime Plan for Gwent, which sets out local policing priorities.
These priorities are now more important than ever. The police service polices by consent and we must gain the trust and confidence of our communities through transparent, fair and ethical application of the law.
I want Gwent to be a place where people can live, work and visit without fear of experiencing hatred of any kind, including religious intolerance. We cannot, and should not, accept a culture in which victims feel that they must suffer in silence.
By working together, we can tackle community concerns, regardless of faith.