Plans in Place to Prevent Abuse of Position
Inspectors have found that Gwent Police has comprehensive and proactive plans in place to prevent and address the issue of abuse of position for a sexual purpose.
In December 2016, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) recommended that within 6 months all police forces in England and Wales should develop and begin to implement plans required to seek intelligence on potential abuse of position for a sexual purpose. Forces were asked to submit plans to HMICFRS by 31 May 2017 for review.
According to a report published by HMICFRS today, the plans submitted by Gwent Police are comprehensive and reflected the national strategy agreed at the National Police Chief's Council in April 2017.
To raise awareness within the service, Gwent Police organised a comprehensive internal communications and engagement campaign targeting all officers and staff over the summer to provide guidance and highlight the definition of the abuse of position and how to report concerns. Following a briefing from the Gwent Police Anti-Corruption Unit, the Connect Gwent Victim's Hub in Blackwood has also ensured that mechanisms for capturing and reporting any concerns from victims are in place.
The report published today is based on a desk-based review of plans submitted by forces. A full inspection of this and other elements of police legitimacy will be carried out in 2018.
Praising Gwent Police for its proactivity, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert said: "It is pleasing to hear that HMICFRS found that plans submitted by Gwent Police are comprehensive and reflect the national strategy. There has undoubtedly been impressive work going on within Gwent Police in this area and this is an area of continuous development. Raising public awareness and confidence in reporting matters of this nature are essential and it has been made clear by Gwent Police that there is no place in the service for those who abuse their position for sexual or emotional purposes. I want to reassure the public that any reports of abuse of power will be dealt with swiftly and robustly here in Gwent."
Detective Superintendent Nicky Brain, Head of Professional Standards at Gwent Police, said: "We really value the trust given to us by the public to protect and serve them. Police personnel must act ethically, professionally and appropriately and treat all individuals with whom they have contact with dignity and respect.
The professional relationship between a member of the police service and the public depends on trust and confidence. There is no place in policing for those who abuse their position for sexual purposes. Abuse of this trust by any member of the police service to pursue a sexual or improper relationship with a member of the public will not be tolerated. Any report of this type of abuse will be taken seriously and investigated by specialist officers.
The majority of officers take their responsibilities very seriously and act with professionalism and integrity at all times, however, if you have any concerns please call Gwent Police on 101 or email the Professional Standards Department PSD@gwent.pnn.police.uk ."
Johanna Robinson, Connect Gwent Victim's Hub Coordinator, said: "We take any report of abuse very seriously and recognise the impact it can have on people's lives. Anyone who has been a victim or witness and been affected by these issues can contact Connect Gwent on 03001232133 for confidential support. We can offer support regardless of when the abuse happened."