Annual report 2022/23

Keep neighbourhoods safe
Combat serious crime
Support victims and protect the vulnerable
Increase community confidence in policing
Drive sustainable policing
Looking to the future


It was a busy year, with some significant successes and challenges.

Public confidence in policing is crucial and multifaceted. I remain determined that high levels of standards are adhered to at all times both in my office and Gwent Police. Any negative behaviours will driven out of policing in Gwent and I remain confident that Chief Constable Pam Kelly will deliver this. Policing must be held to higher standards and the well-publicised dismissal of senior officers demonstrates how seriously the Chief Constable takes this matter. I continue to provide her with the support and scrutiny she needs to confront these issues.

We will challenge unacceptable behaviour wherever we find it. However, I strongly believe that most Gwent Police officers and staff are hardworking, dedicated public servants who are committed to serving our communities. I want to reassure those officers that they continue to have my full support.

In recognition of the importance of recognising and acknowledging that inequality and racial injustice are apparent across all aspects of people’s lives, Criminal Justice in Wales launched its new anti-racism action plan in September. We are key partners of Criminal Justice in Wales and this plan outlines the determination of partners to do all they can, individually and collectively, to root out any form of racism across the criminal justice system. From the outset, Criminal Justice in Wales committed to listening, hearing and incorporating the experiences and voices of those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities to guide the development of the document. This saw the Anti-Racism Action Plan evolve over an 18-month period, capturing and establishing each step required to achieve real change across the criminal justice system. This involved more than 600 members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities helping to co-produce a plan that recognises the unique landscape in Wales and which meets the needs of our communities. Their valued contribution has been vital in developing this plan and will guide us as we work proactively with our partners towards our shared goal of an anti-racist Wales.

The cost-of-living crisis has continued to have significant impact for our communities, and this includes our own police officers and staff. Policing as an organisation has been affected by rising costs. There are potentially far-reaching implications for crime and community safety. We have been working to understand how best we can mitigate any issues arising from this, and this work will no doubt continue for years to come. My priority is to ensure that Gwent Police continues to provide the best possible service to the public, within resources, while also ensuring residents receive value for their money.

Our focus on victim services remains paramount, with my office and Gwent Police in November celebrating a year since the innovative Victim Care Unit went live. This ensures that victims are assessed for any support they need, updated on their case in-line with their rights, and linked to the right agencies who can help them move forward with their lives. There is always more we can do, but you can be assured that a focus on victims will always be at the heart of my work. That is why last year we also commissioned an independent review of our victim services to identify areas we can improve. We are expecting the results of this work imminently.

We undertook a comprehensive review of Gwent Police’s estate strategy to ensure that police premises are sustainable, affordable and fit to deliver modern day policing. This will help them to deliver a resident-focused policing service, while supporting operational policing requirements and demonstrating value for money. Our revised strategy will provide Gwent Police with sustainable, modern environments from which to protect and reassure our communities. The new strategy will be published in 2023/24 and will aim to ensure that services are delivered consistently across Gwent, while giving Gwent Police the flexibility to evolve to meet emerging and future changes.

In terms of the facilities themselves, Gwent Police and my office transferred services from the former headquarters to the new headquarters during the year. The facility in Llantarnam is home to the control room, which is the first point of contact for calls to the force, alongside major crime teams, training functions, support services and senior management. In November, we were delighted to welcome HRH the Earl of Wessex for an official opening ceremony for the new facility. Work also began on a new £6.4m police station in Abergavenny. Located next to the A465 in Llanfoist, the new station will mean that Gwent Police’s neighbourhood team can easily cover the town centre on foot, while response cars have good access to the local road networks for urgent calls.

In the summer, Gwent Police launched a new strategy that places the well-being of children and young people at the centre of its decision making. The child-centred policing strategy was developed with children and young people from schools and youth groups across Gwent. I am committed to ensuring that all children and young people in Gwent can live their lives safely. If they do have to deal with the police, either as a victim of crime or as an offender, they must be treated fairly, with compassion and respect. Gwent Police has been making important steps towards a greater child-centred policing approach in recent years and this strategy formalises this work, putting children and young people at the heart of all future decision making.

During the autumn, we hosted the Knife Angel, a 27ft sculpture made from more than 100,000 knives. Commissioned by the British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, and created by artist Alfie Bradley, the iconic sculpture was seen more than 640,000 times by people in November. The reaction from the public was overwhelmingly positive and we complemented this visit with engagement work with more than 4,000 young people in Gwent. Our partners at the charity Fearless delivered workshops about the dangers of violence and aggression, and we also worked with 12 primary schools and youth groups to discuss these important issues. This work continues even though the Knife Angel has now departed.

Like all police forces in England and Wales, Gwent faced its share of crime, anti social behaviour and other incidents last year. However, it continues to be a safe place to live, work and visit. Calls coming into 999 and 101 remain stubbornly high and last summer we saw some of the highest levels on record during the heat wave. Gwent Police responded to more than 170,000 incidents last year and recorded nearly 59,000 crimes. The incident levels remain similar to the previous year, but crimes have increased by about 5,000. This shows some of the improvements in crime recording practices that have been a focus this year, but we have also seen the worrying trend of some crimes increasing. We will monitor this closely in the coming year.

To tackle the significant challenges facing both policing and wider society requires partnership working. Wales is leading the way in how neighbouring police forces and other local agencies work together. The Home Office is keen to learn from our success and to see how it can be applied in England. To enable this, I met with the policing ministers a number of times during the year where we explained how we have achieved this in Wales.

In June, I assumed the role of chair of Policing in Wales. This brings together the Commissioners and Chief Constables of the four forces in Wales to facilitate joint thinking and action on Wales-wide issues where there is sufficient similarity and purpose. The role of chair rotates amongst the Commissioners on an annual basis. I not only chaired the quarterly meeting, but also met monthly with the lead Chief Constable and Welsh Government Minister for Social Justice. The work of Policing in Wales often feeds into the work of the Policing Partnership Board for Wales (chaired by the First Minister) which is the body that brings together policing with the Welsh Government and key public sector partners. Through this we contribute greatly to Wales-wide work on matters such as anti-racism, violence against women and girls, our schools programme, and the policing of Wales-only legislation.

Nationally, the Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR) sets out those threats which, in the Home Secretary’s view, are the biggest threat to public safety. A revised version of the SPR was published in February 2023 which provided strengthened detail around the action required from policing at the local and regional level to the critical national threats. The 2023 SPR sets out seven identified national threats. These are as follows: serious and organised crime; terrorism; cyber; child sexual abuse; public disorder and civil emergencies. These remain from the 2015 version with the addition in 2023 of violence against women and girls, reflecting the threat it presents to public safety and confidence. Given this annual report is for the year April 2022 to March 2023, it will not respond in detail to the revised SPR due to the timing of its publication. However, I am confident I have given due regard to the six threat areas identified in the previous SPR in my Police and Crime Plan and in my role holding Gwent’s Chief Constable to account.

Throughout the year, my deputy Eleri Thomas has continued to lead on my office’s strategic work on violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence (VAWDASV). This has seen the revision and strengthening of the national plan to tackle violence against women and girls and the creation of the VAWDASV blueprint supported by dedicated teams to focus on it. These are all underpinned by the views and experiences of survivors to ensure the needs of victims and survivors are met. We continue to lead the work on children and young people impacted by VAWDASV for the national plan and blueprint. In addition, Gwent Police was one of 14 police services to pilot a scheme to transform the policing response to rape and serious sexual offences through Operation Soteria Bluestone.

Finally, I would like to formally thank Gwent Police’s officers and staff, my own team at the OPCC, and our partner organisations for their continued work to protect and reassure our residents. We now have 1,506 officers in Gwent, which is 359 more than when I was first elected in 2016. Policing is an exciting career, with excellent opportunities and a chance to make a difference for communities served. I see this evidenced every day. I’m delighted to welcome these new officers to the policing family and I am sure their commitment to public service will make a mark locally. However, I must stress that recruitment alone will not be enough to tackle the challenges we face today. There needs to be continued sustainable investment from UK Government; not only in policing, but the wider criminal justice system too. Only through a holistic approach to investment in the entire system will we be able drive the change we seek.

Jeff Cuthbert
Police and Commissioner for Gwent

Keep neighbourhoods safe

Key commitments
(comparison between 2021/22 and 2022/23)

  • Reduce public order offences (Stable) and anti-social behaviour (Decreased), and the number of people who repeatedly carry out these acts (Stable)
  • Reduce acquisitive crime and repeat offenders (Stable)
  • Improve the safety of roads throughout Gwent (Fewer killed or seriously injured)
  • Commission and invest in effective crime prevention initiatives.

What we have done

  • Supported the Gwent Public Service Board’s (PSB) community safety review, the Home Office’s national review of community safety partnerships, and the launch of Wales Safer Communities Network.
  • Granted community safety projects £1,396,070, of which £489,000 helped ensure more informed, effective collaborative working by funding the community safety partnerships, Safer Gwent analyst, and the five youth offending services.
  • Extensive recommissioning work on the Women’s Pathfinder Whole System Approach (WSA) and 18–25 Early Intervention Service in partnership with South Wales OPCC, HMPPS and Welsh Government.
  • There were 194 referrals into the 18–25 Early Intervention Service and 278 referrals into the Women’s Pathfinder WSA from Gwent. 90% of service users who engaged with the 18–25 Early Intervention Service and 81% of service users who engaged with the Women’s Pathfinder WSA were found to make positive progress towards achieving at least one their identified key outcomes.
  • Initial findings (throughout the schemes since launch) show that 72% of referred users to the 18–25 service and 88% of those referred to Women’s Pathfinder Whole System Approach had not re-offended within nine months of support ending.
  • Secured £746,000 of funding from the Home Office’s Safer Streets fund to help prevent anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood crime.
  • Safer Streets funding contributed to youth working programmes, as well as:
  • 9,000 property marking kits and crime prevention packs;
  • ‘Dusk til Dawn’ security lighting systems to 500 homes;
  • A mentoring project for youths involved in anti-social behaviour or low level criminal activity; and
  • Re-deployable CCTV cameras to be used in hotspot areas.
  • Positive Futures, a social inclusion programme that uses sport as a tool to engage with young people and discourage anti-social behaviour, ran 842 scheduled diversionary sessions across Gwent.
  • There were 81 reactive Positive Futures sessions held to tackle specific anti social behaviour issues with:
  • 4,196 young people attending;
  • 91% reporting improved health and well-being;
  • 54% reporting improved life skills; and
  • 22% reporting increased engagement in education, employment and training.
  • Contributed £867,279 to the Gwent Drug and Alcohol Service (GDAS) Criminal Justice Service, which worked with 447 service users.
  • The percentage of GDAS service users making positive changes in each outcome area was:
  • Alcohol misuse – 56%
  • Substance misuse – 53%
  • Offending - 66%
  • Health and well-being – 49%
  • Accommodation – 45%
  • Finance – 54%
  • Relationships – 38%
  • An out-of-court disposal pilot continued to run, establishing whether support to address the complex needs of repeat offenders who routinely commit low level offences reduces their likelihood of reoffending and subsequently reducing demand on the criminal justice, social and health systems.
  • Supported a week-long enforcement campaign with partners that targeted rogue traders.

Combat serious crime

Key commitments
(comparison between 2021/22 and 2022/23)

  • Reduce the number of repeat victims of child criminal and sexual exploitation
    (Official data show reductions, but we believe this to be under-reported).
  • Increase disruption of serious organised crime, and reinvest assets seized
    back into communities (Drug offences stable, serious violence decreasing,
    assets seized increasing).
  • Improve the overall criminal justice response to violence against women,
    domestic abuse and sexual violence (reported rape and serious sexual
    offences decreased, domestic related crimes increased, violence against
    women and girls stable, but criminal justice outcomes remain low).
  • Commission and invest in services that work with perpetrators of serious
    crime to prevent and reduce re-offending.

What we have done

  • Using the proceeds of crime seized from criminals, I awarded £270,493 to ten
    organisations supporting children and young people across Gwent as part of
    my Police Community Fund.
  • Received new powers to convene partners together to determine a collective
    response to serious violence, with implementation being delivered over the
    coming years, led by my team. An additional £500k of funding has been
    provided by the Home Office for us to invest in this work.
  • Using findings from a study we funded in 2021/22, we started working to
    recommission our independent sexual violence adviser service to provide
    future support to victims of sexual abuse and violence.
  • Co-chaired the all-Wales VAWDASV taskforce that brings together leading
    agencies in Wales to challenge attitudes and behaviours that contribute to
  • Successfully submitted two bids to Home Office securing £594,058 for
    2022/23 and £569,058 for 2023/24 to pilot two domestic abuse perpetrator
    programmes in Gwent.
  • Concluded the perpetrator interventions pilot.
  • Hosted the Knife Angel statue which was visited by more than 640,000 people
    during November and complemented with engagement work with more than
    4,000 young people.
  • Committed further funding to Crimestoppers (£40,851) and the St Giles Trust
    (£123,794) to educate, inform and work with young people on the dangers of
    serious and organised crime, helping to divert them away from this.
  • Promoted anti-scamming advice throughout the year online and in person at
    more than 76 public engagement sessions, engaging with more than 11,415
    residents and businesses.
  • Continued to support a new safe space for women who are experiencing, or
    are at risk of, sexual exploitation and violence.

Support victims and protect the vulnerable

Key commitments
(comparison between 2021/22 and 2022/23)

  • Improve victim services and ensure that the needs of victims are identified
    and responded to appropriately through Connect Gwent and the Victim Care
    Unit (Positive satisfaction with the Victim Care Unit at 87%).
  • Further improve our work with partners to protect those most vulnerable.
  • Increase the timeliness of police investigation updates provided to victims
    (Data being developed).
  • Commission and invest in specialist services to support victims throughout the
    criminal justice process.

What we have done

  • Our focus on victim services remains paramount, with the new victim care unit
    dealing with 54,766 referrals and supporting 29,649 people.
  • Our adult multi-crime support service, provided by Victim Support, received
    1,792 referrals and our children and young people service, provided by
    Umbrella Cymru, received 262 referrals.
  • 69% of people who came to the end of their support with Victim Support and
    77% of children and young people who came to the end of their support with
    Umbrella Cymru were better able to cope and build resilience following
  • Victims Support, which received £259,000 and is based in the victims’ hub
    that we also fund, dealt with 1,793 referrals and supported 1,911 people.
  • We granted Age Cymru (£18,343), Umbrella Cymru (£74,964) and Aneurin
    Bevan University Health Board (£30,785) funding to provide specialist victims
    services dealing with 450 referrals and supporting 502 people through the
    year between them.
  • To ensure we continue to improve services, we appointed Supporting Justice
    to undertake a victims’ needs assessment to inform support services next
  • New Pathways received £441,549 for independent sexual violence advisor
    (ISVA) and counselling services, dealing with 1,196 referrals.
  • Cyfannol received £152,476 for ISVA and counselling services, dealing with
    253 referrals.
  • Co-produced and distributed more than 600 hate crime leaflets to help people
    with disabilities understand when a hate crime has been committed and how
    to report it.
  • Co-ordinated a week-long road show for Hate Crime Awareness Week,
    partnering with Gwent Police, Connect Gwent, Fearless, South Wales Fire
    and Rescue, Umbrella Cymru and Victim Support Cymru to provide advice,
    guidance, and support to residents at events in every Gwent borough.
  • Led regional partnership work on VAWDASV communications and
    engagement campaigns focusing on Elder Abuse Day and White Ribbon Day.
  • The IDVA service had 1,595 referrals and 4,083 people were supported
    throughout the year.
  • On average 81% of people who engaged with the IDVA service reported
    increased feelings of safety, improved health and well-being, or were better
    informed and empowered to act on information.
  • The Early Action Together programme, which enables early intervention and
    root-cause prevention, continued to run in Newport where:
  • 351 Public Protection Notices were received;
  • 560 children and young people from 309 families benefitted from
    the grant; and
  • 90% of families who ended supports closed with a successful

Increase community confidence in policing

Key commitments
(comparison between 2021/22 and 2022/23)

  • Increase the effectiveness of officer and staff engagement with residents in
    their communities, and community confidence and trust in Gwent Police.
    (Confidence reduced to 64%)
  • Improve the accessibility of neighbourhood police teams through a variety of
    contact channels that meet the needs of the public. (No specific metrics)
  • Increase reporting of crime by communities that are less likely to engage with
    the police. (Stable)
  • Further increase officer and staff diversity to ensure our police service reflects
    the communities that we serve. (Increasing to 3.9% of officers and 1.9% of
    staff being from an ethnic minority background against 5.8% in the wider
    population of Gwent)

What we have done

  • Worked with partners in Criminal Justice Wales to develop and implement a
    dedicated and transparent anti-racism action plan and independent advisory
  • Co-produced and launched Gwent Police’s child-centred policing strategy,
    with rollout taking place throughout 2022/23 and 2023/24.
  • Following well received pilot sessions, began delivering ‘safe spaces’
    workshops with young people.
  • Delivered engagement exercises to more than 500 children in Torfaen during
    the summer.
  • Met with Roma pupils from Maindee Primary School and the Children’s
    Commissioner for Wales to highlight community safety issues.
  • Held eight walkabouts in Gwent communities, attended 12 partner-led
    summer events and 76 general engagement sessions throughout the year.
  • Initial review undertaken into firearms licensing performance, with reviews
    taking place every six months in future.
  • Held three out of court disposal scrutiny panels that reviewed 62 randomly
    selected cases resolved by Gwent Police outside of court. The panel made
    recommendations on five cases it deemed should have gone to court.
  • Held four legitimacy scrutiny panels that reviewed a dip sample of stop and
    search and use of force incidents through body worn video and Gwent Police
    data. Recommendations were made to the force where opportunities for
    improvement were identified, or in recognition of good practice by officers
    when engaging with the members of the public involved.
  • Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) scheme:
  • 76 visits conducted when 402 detainees were in custody, of which 271
    accepted a visit.
  • 122 minor issues raised with the Custody Sergeant addressed at the
    time, with seven addressed subsequently.
  • OPCC staff attended three custody training sessions to highlight the
    importance of the ICV scheme.
  • Animal Welfare scheme:
  • Awarded a Dogs Trust Certificate
  • Held 11 visits, raising one issue relating to canine first aid kits in some
    of the police vehicles.
  • Volunteers observed three training assessment days throughout the
  • Dip sampled police complaint files, highlighting queries and providing
    feedback to the professional standards department, which resulted in more
    regular updates provided to complainants and a review by the professional
    standards department of its administrative processes.
  • Dealt with 29 complaint review requests, four of which were upheld resulting
    in recommendations to Gwent Police.

Drive sustainable policing 

Key commitments
(comparison between 2021/22 and 2022/23)

  • Ensure Gwent Police have the right number of officers, staff and volunteers in
    the right places (Increased resources to 1,506 FTE police officers, 857 police
    staff, 170 community support officers, and 73 special constables volunteering
    an average of 8,000 hours a quarter).
  • Increase investment in and adopt 21st Century policing technology to meet
    tomorrow’s challenges today.
  • Enhance health and well-being support for officers and staff to ensure our
    workforce is fit and ready to meet the challenges of policing (Sickness rates
  • Reduce the environmental impact of policing in line with Welsh Government’s
    carbon neutral targets and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act
    2015 (Data being developed).

What we have done

  • Increased Gwent Police’s establishment to 1,506 officers – the highest it has
    ever been.
  • Agreed a budget for Gwent Police for 2023/24 of £156.4m (£8.9m more than
    the previous year).
  • Set the council tax precept increase at 6.82 per cent.
  • Created a capital budget for 2023/24 of £23.9m.
  • Benchmarked costs via HMICFRS value for money profiles.
  • Received an assurance judgement from internal auditors that we have
    adequate and effective management, control and governance processes.
  • Received an assurance statement of ‘generally satisfactory’ from Torfaen
    County Borough Council for IT services provided by SRS.
  • Published my annual governance statement, which evidences the
    effectiveness of our governance.
  • Completed a review of the estate strategy to be implemented in 23/24.
  • Officially opened the new headquarters of Gwent Police in Cwmbran.
  • Construction work began on a new £6million police station in Abergavenny to
    serve north Monmouthshire.
  • Donated £65,000 to the High Sheriff’s Community Fund to steer young people
    away from crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • Held four strategy and performance board meetings to hold the Chief
    Constable to account.
  • Held four legitimacy scrutiny panels reviewing incidents involving Gwent
    Police officers where there was a use of force.
  • Issued six HMICFRS responses on MAPPA, the impact of Covid-19 on the
    criminal justice system, response to rape, digital forensics, vetting misconduct
    and misogyny in the police service, and the state of policing annual report.
  • Responded to 37 Freedom of Information requests, with 95% being replied to
    within 20 working days.
  • Zero data protection breaches reported.
  • 29 subject access requests were received, of which only one related to
    information held by the OPCC and was responded to within the one month
  • Progressed development of a board assurance framework and held four Joint
    Audit Committees.
  • Welcomed the launch of the new ‘Greener Gwent’ sustainability strategy,
    which is driving investment in new electric vehicle fleet, more efficient
    buildings, zero waste to landfill and other initiatives to reduce our carbon
  • Chaired Policing in Wales group throughout 22/23

Looking to the future

During the year, we welcomed the publication of the Welsh Government document
on justice in Wales. This is the first step in moving past the political debate and we
are now sharing our view to the practical and detailed discussions in which everyone
will need to contribute.

All four Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales welcomed this report, as the work
of policing and the criminal justice system is inextricably linked with a range of
devolved responsibilities. In recent years, we have shown the benefit of co-operation
across public services. We believe that the devolution of policing and criminal justice
– and indeed civil justice – is the logical next step in the devolution journey in
response to the time.

Neither policing nor justice can be delivered successfully in isolation; they depend on
a high level of cooperation, professionalism and trust between a variety of
professions and organisations. There is a significant detail that needs to be worked
through to deliver that aspiration as a practical reality, but our joint endeavour is to
provide the best possible quality of policing and criminal justice to the people of

There are many changes coming in relation to community safety, both here in Gwent
and across England and Wales in the coming year. The Home Office is consulting on
whether to strengthen the links between Commissioners and Community Safety
Partnerships, with potential new powers for Commissioners as a result. This is in
advance of more fundamental reforms expected in 2025. We await further details of
what this looks like, but I am very clear that any changes must provide positive
benefits to the communities of Gwent.