"It's been a great honour and a privilege"

19th March 2024

It has been a great honour and a privilege to serve the people of Gwent as their elected Police and Crime Commissioner for the last eight years. While I will be sad to leave the job - I enjoy it today just as much as I did when I was first elected in 2016 - now is the right time to hand over the role to someone new.

Throughout my tenure as Commissioner, my responsibility has been to ensure that Gwent has an efficient and effective policing service, while my personal priority has been to ensure that I leave Gwent a safer place for our communities. I have been very clear on my commitment and expectation on this throughout this time and I am pleased and proud to say that these two objectives have largely been achieved.

The last eight years have not been without substantial challenges, of course. The unforeseen impact of Covid-19 and the subsequent cost-of-living crisis to public services and our communities have been substantial. Policing itself has experienced its own set of challenges during this time and has, rightly, been under scrutiny like never before. Much of this has been out of our control, but we always did the best we could to deliver for the people of Gwent.

And there is much we can celebrate.

I am particularly proud of the investment I have made in 170 additional police officer posts to help Gwent Police recover from the low establishment numbers caused by austerity. Together with additional officers from the UK Government’s Operation Uplift there are now 370 more police officer posts serving the people of Gwent than when I was first elected.

The Heddlu Bach Mini Police scheme, which I instigated here in Gwent, has gone from strength to strength and is now in more than 150 schools across the region. It is breaking down barriers and building bridges between children and the police, as well as developing their interpersonal and practical skills, things that will be useful for the rest of their lives. 

During my tenure, I have overseen the development of the Gwent Police estate to ensure that it is fit for the purpose of modern policing and invested more than £2million into services that support children and young people who are at risk of becoming involved in crime and antisocial behaviour.

These are just a few examples of what has been achieved by working in partnership with the police, partners and you the public.

As we look ahead to the future, we know that many more challenges await. Public services face an uncertain financial future and pressures regarding funding for policing from the UK Government remain.

The increasing reliance on local council taxpayers to make sure that Gwent Police has adequate funding levels is an ongoing concern ‒ particularly as many continue to experience financial hardship due to the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis.

But despite the challenges I am satisfied that policing in Gwent has continued to move in a positive direction throughout my time as Commissioner, and I am confident that that Gwent is a safer place in which to live, work and visit. And, I firmly believe that, with the team I have assembled here at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, there are solid foundations on which my successor can build.

I would like to thank my OPCC colleagues, Gwent Police’s officers and staff, Police and Crime Panel members, and all of our partners for their hard work and support over the last eight years. Perhaps, most importantly, I would also like to thank the public for putting their trust in me to serve them as their voice in policing for two terms.