PCC Approves Plans for more Bobbies on the Beat

Gwent PCC Ian Johnston welcomed the news which was announced yesterday (Wednesday June 25th) following a meeting of the Strategy and Performance Board (SPB) he Chairs. The SPB is responsible for monitoring the performance of Gwent Police Force and how it effectively delivers its service against his Police and Crime Plan. The news comes in the wake of a comprehensive review of the Custody Department and the provision of staff which was undertaken by the Gwent Police Assistant Chief Constable in partnership with the senior police officer lead for custody in Gwent and the Head of Criminal Justice.

The Custody Department in Gwent is currently made up of 25 Sergeants and 30 Detention Officers - 15 of which are fully warranted Police Constables with the other half made up of civilian staff. Under the new structure, the number of Sergeants will be reduced to 20 with five of the sergeants being redeployed back on the beat in the community. The number of Custody Detention Officers will remain at 30 but the 15 Police Officers will be released for frontline duties and 15 fulltime civilian Custody Detention Officers will replace them in the custody units.

The announcement today delivers upon the Commissioner's Police and Crime Plan whereby communities are protected and reassured. The aim is to maximise the visibility, availability and responsiveness of quality operational police officers to the public of Gwent by removing fully warranted Police Constables from custody units.

Highlighting the importance of the decision, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "Police Officers belong on the beat. It's all about delivering the best possible service to the people of Gwent and ensuring the Force are operationally fit for purpose by providing more of a presence back on the street and in our communities. This is what members of the public have been telling me that they want to see all along and I'm glad that Gwent Police are able to deliver on their feedback."

He added: "I would like to thank the team at Gwent Police for all their hard work in undertaking this review and for taking a very sympathetic approach to the transition."

Gwent Police Chief Constable, Jeff Farrar, said: "I support this decision as it gets more officers back out on the streets which the public consistently tell us they want to see."

Welcoming the news, Linda Sweet, the Gwent Police UNISON Branch Secretary, said: "We think this is a very good move and we are really in favour of the decision and agree with it wholeheartedly. I know that some of our members are over the moon with the news."

Gwent Police Federation Chairman, Jeff Mapps, also welcomed the news, saying: "We welcome this move and I'm sure it will be of great reassurance to the public and will bolster depleted numbers on the front lines."

Full consultations with Staff Association and Trade Union representatives will be held throughout the process.