THE Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent has praised the ‘impressive’ efforts of Gwent Police, his office and other partners in the community as a recent report highlights how the force has improved the way it protects those who are vulnerable from harm and is effective in supporting victims of crime.

As part of the 2015 PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) inspection, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) looked at all police forces in England Wales in June and July this year to see how effective they are at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims. This included an in-depth consideration of the service offered to victims of domestic abuse.

Gwent Police achieved ‘good’ ratings in each, with HMIC highlighting that it was “clear that vulnerability is a high priority in the force” and that the force is “effective at supporting victims and protecting from harm those who are vulnerable”.?Gwent Police has received criticism in the past for the way it handled certain domestic abuse cases.

Despite this, HMIC has now found that the force has made improvements since the last domestic abuse inspection and that positive outcomes are apparent, such as the force now having a prosecution rate for domestic abuse which is greater than the national average. The inspectorate also found that domestic abuse is very clearly a priority for the force and is clearly important to frontline staff. HMIC are now satisfied that progress is being made. 

Gwent PCC Ian Johnston said: “I have been very clear from the outset that we must put victims at the heart of everything we do and I am pleased to have continuously developed my commitment in this area.?

“It’s been a long road but I have witnessed for myself the impressive efforts and the huge amount of work which has been undertaken by the force, my office and other partners in the community in pulling together a range of projects and initiatives to enhance the quality of service provision for all victims of crime.

“The implementation of these changes has contributed significantly towards providing more of a victim focussed approach in Gwent and this has translated directly into an improvement in the overall satisfaction of victims of crime in the service they receive.

“This report is very good news and a fantastic turnaround when you consider the criticism the force took a few years ago, how it was graded in this area and the challenging financial climate we have had to work in.

“I would like to thank everyone for their efforts and whilst the direction of travel continues to improve, the chief constable and I both realise that it needs to improve even further and are fully committed to doing so.”

Gwent Police assistant chief constable, Julian Williams, said: “Protecting vulnerable people is a key focus for Gwent Police, and the quality of the service we provide to victims is our absolute priority.

“Early intervention is key and our officers are well equipped to make the relevant referrals in each case they deal with.  The responsibility of this work lies not just with our specialist officers, but with every frontline officer and every member of staff who may come into contact with vulnerable people, and we have invested in providing further training in this area.”