Meet the New Faces Keeping Gwent Safe
Gwent PCC Jeff Cuthbert joined the Chief Constable of Gwent Police, Jeff Farrar, at a passing out parade in Newport recently to welcome some of the 100 new officers being recruited to replace those who have retired or have left the Force already.
Despite an overall reduction of 365 police officers (24%) since 2010/11 as a result of austerity, Gwent Police announced last year that it would be recruiting up to 100 frontline officers in order to maintain levels of operational policing in the region. The announcement marked the end of an austerity-driven freeze on the external recruitment of police constables which had been in place since August 2013.
A total of 60 new officers have been recruited, trained and deployed on the beat throughout the region so far this year and they will be followed by another 40 officers set to arrive early in 2017. The force has been inundated with applications following the recruitment campaign announced last year.
With the aim of attracting applicants from a broad cross-section of society and to ensure that the recruitment process reflected the diverse nature of Gwent communities, the Force hosted special awareness raising sessions with Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities throughout the region as part of the recruitment drive.
The funding of the Force and the provision of policing services form part of PCC Jeff Cuthbert's statutory duties and it is his responsibility to ensure that Gwent has appropriate levels of policing to meet the requirements of communities whilst making the necessary savings.
Despite the issue of a reduced policing budget from Central Government, Mr Cuthbert has expressed his commitment to maintain front-line policing in Gwent as much as possible. According to the Commissioner, this will require a significant focus on high quality service delivery, utilising effective use of resources and embracing new technologies whilst ensuring value for money is achieved.
Welcoming the new recruits, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: "I am delighted to welcome these much needed officers who will play such an important role in keeping Gwent safe and in ensuring that we meet the demands of modern day policing. I would like to wish them all the best in their new and rewarding careers.
It's no secret that the police service is facing some tough financial challenges and we have seen officer numbers dwindle in Gwent over the last six years as a result of government cuts. With the growing threat of cyber-crime, the very nature of policing is rapidly changing and I want to ensure that the citizens of Gwent have a police service that provides public re-assurance and crime solving capacity fit for the 21st century. In order to do this it's important that the police service receives an acceptable level of funding and I am committed to ensuring that this is the case."
The Chief Constable of Gwent Police, Jeff Farrar, added: "It's an absolute pleasure to welcome these new officers to the Force. They bring with them a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills and with their commitment to protect the communities of Gwent, they will be invaluable. I congratulate these officers and look forward to working with them to make Gwent a safer place for everyone."