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‘Officers must meet the standards the public expect’

21 November 2022

Police Federation Welsh affairs lead Nicky Ryan has said officers who fail to meet the standards expected by members of the public deserve to be removed from the service.

Nicky was responding to allegations of misogyny, racism, homophobia and corruption within Gwent Police.

The latest claims were made in The Sunday Times which said messages between serving and retired officers included sick jokes and inappropriate videos and photos.

Wiltshire Police has now opened an independent investigation into the claims on behalf of Gwent Police.

Nicky told BBC Radio Wales the Police Federation condemned any behaviour judged to be misogynistic, racist or homophobic.

She said: “From a Police Federation point of view, we certainly don’t support this behaviour and if these individuals are found responsible for undertaking this behaviour we would want them removed from the Force as much as everybody else.

“Behaviour like this by a minority undermines the great hard work that is being done by the majority of my brave colleagues who are in there, day in and day out.”

Nicky explained she could not comment on the investigation that was now underway.

She said: “I think the police misconduct process should be allowed to take its course. Sadly, it is a horrendously slow process and it mustn’t be slowed down further by IOPC involvement; it must be done expeditiously and it is only that way that public confidence will be restored.

“I think the public have every right to expect a standard from police officers and the vast majority of my colleagues go well beyond that expected standard on a daily basis.

“These comments were allegedly made by a very small minority within policing but one is too many and processes need to be in place, we need to see leadership from our chief constables across the country, not just in Gwent or the Welsh forces, to tackle these problems quickly.”

Nicky said criticism of Gwent Chief Constable Pam Kelly’s involvement in the investigation into the officers’ behaviour showed a lack of understanding around the police misconduct process.

She answered: “Gwent Police have probably done the right thing by handing this to an external force to review

“The police misconduct process is a very strong process, a very robust process and if these officers end up at a misconduct hearing it is an independent panel that reviews the evidence, not police officers from within Gwent.

“There will be one senior officer on the board along with a Legally Qualified Chair and an independent panel member so there is independence within the process.

“And I think the fact that this has been referred outside Gwent shows the will and the want for that process to be completely transparent.”

Nicky said she had been given no indication of when the investigation might be concluded.

“We would hope it would be done very quickly but my experience of the police misconduct process is that it is very slow,” she said.

“The Police Federation is constantly campaigning for that process to be made more speedy.

“When the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act was introduced we asked for a time limit to be put on police misconduct inquiries and sadly it didn’t make the cut but we are still campaigning on that.”