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Gwent Police Federation

‘It’s up to us to re-build trust in policing’

20 January 2023

Gwent Police Federation chair Matthew Candy has urged members to challenge the bad behaviour of colleagues to help the service rebuild public trust.

Matthew said there needs to be a culture change so that officers feel confident and supported when calling out and reporting improper conduct.

He said: “Gwent Police Federation and right-thinking police officers across the country have been appalled by what has happened.

“The actions of a minority of officers have tarnished the reputation of us all and led to a huge loss of trust in policing. It’s up to us all to put that right.

“That starts within Government with support and respect for policing. It needs strong leadership to root out those who are guilty of improper conduct and to support members in calling it out.

“And it needs officers to feel confident they can stand up, challenge and, where necessary, report inappropriate behaviour.

“We need to ensure we create a culture where good practice is encouraged and supported. And we need a return to thosepolicing values where we worked with and in our communities. Policing needs to be by consent and we need to take these steps to rebuild that trust if that’s to continue.”

Matthew’s comments come as national Federation chair Steve Hartshorn was questioned in the Houses of Parliament about rebuilding public confidence after serving Metropolitan Police officer David Carrick was found to have committed a string of sexual offences and rapes spanning two decades.

Steve appeared before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in Westminster on Wednesday when he was questioned about restoring trust and a return to “common-sense policing” by Marco Longhi, Tory MP for Dudley North.

Steve said: “I don’t think it will be a quick pathway to getting back confidence in policing. I think some of the steps of a practical nature are let’s get back to community-based policing, neighbourhood policing, putting police officers out there walking the beat.

“There was a tried and tested method and it perhaps harks back to the ‘good old days’ of Dixon of Dock Green and that was the best option.”

Steve acknowledged demands on policing had changed significantly but said there was still room for community policing.

He said: “The only time you see a police officer is when you need their help and you’ve dialled 999 or there has been a major incident. That needs to change. We need to be seen as part of the community.

“We need more numbers. With a population increase of four million people over the last 10 years, are 145,000 police enough to deal with it? I suggest it isn’t by the fact that we are failing the public.

“We can’t give the service we want to because we are constantly responding rather than being proactive.”

Steve opened his remarks by apologising to the victims of serial rapist David Carrick and also to the wider public for the “loss of confidence in policing”.

He said the apology was heartfelt and was made on behalf of “every right-thinking, decent police officer who is absolutely appalled by recent events”.