Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent and Gwent Police (MAC0015)


1. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent (OPCC) and Gwent Police welcome the Home Affairs’ Committee new call for evidence as part of its Inquiry into The Macpherson Report: 21 years on, focusing on policing and race, following concerns raised about the policing of the Coronavirus lockdown and reported disproportionality in fines and investigations.

2. The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Chief Constable welcome the opportunity to provide information on the issues covered within this submission.


3. The purpose of this submission is to outline to the Committee the issues relating to changes in police powers and the steps we have taken to minimise the impact that these changes may have, particularly on Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.  This includes changes in police powers, local scrutiny, the impact of the Coronavirus Regulations, and hate crime.

4. We have received regular briefings from the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCCs) on equality, diversity and human rights concerns arising from Coronavirus Regulations, signposting links to relevant resources.  This has included:


Changes in Police Powers

5. We recognise the importance of the police having appropriate powers to tackle serious violence and keep communities safe.  The PCC is committed to acting as a bridge between the public and the police, through engaging with the communities he represents and ensuring the provision of a local police service that meets their needs.

6. As stated by the Committee’s call for evidence, the killing of George Floyd has shone a spotlight on racism and injustice across the world.  Mr Cuthbert stated publicly his support for the Black Lives Matter movement and his continuing commitment to a police service that protects and serves its communities. 

7. The OPCC and Gwent Police are working together to drive progress on tackling racial disparity within policing and criminal justice.  This includes working with our partners at the local Criminal Justice Board level.

8. We acknowledge the relaxation of restriction contained in the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme for the use of Stop and Search under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, extended to all police forces in August 2019.  To date, this power has not been used in Gwent.

9. We recognise that people from BAME communities are disproportionately subject to stop and search compared to White people and continue to work with Gwent Police to ensure the effective recording of data around stop and search and to monitor its fair and proper use.  We will also continue to ensure that the lay observation policies in place enable accurate data recording and fair opportunities for participation, particularly for individuals identifying with groups that are over-represented within the criminal justice system.

10. In line with national trends, the number of stop and searches in Gwent has increased since reaching its lowest rate in 2017/18.  For 2019/20, 3146 encounters were recorded, 10.4% of which took place with people identifying as BAME and who were 4.5 times as likely to be stop and searched than White people.  However, the number of recorded encounters for BAME individuals provides a slight reduction on those for the previous year.  For the year ending March 2019, Home Office data shows that BAME people were 4.3 times as likely to be stop and searched than White people.  However, we recognise this may not provide an accurate representation of the likelihood of stop and search taking place, due to the age of 2011 Census upon which the calculations are based and the publication date of national data.

11. In 2019, Gwent Police implemented improved internal monitoring of stop and search to support better understanding of its use and the impacts on our communities.  Supported by HMICFRS, the Stop and Search Performance Report provides detailed analysis of activity that is monitored at the Operational Tactics Meeting, attended by the OPCC.  The report has confirmed a need for further work to understand the drivers for disproportionality within Gwent, which is being undertaken during 2020/21.

12. The OPCC has in place a longstanding process for public scrutiny of local use of stop and search and use of force.  Sessions take place quarterly to examine body worn video, police data, and stop and search records to determine compliance with PACE requirements, police performance, data quality, and the quality of engagement between officers and members of the public.  Scrutiny focuses on ethnicity, age, purpose, grounds and outcome, whilst giving wider consideration to other factors and outcomes as appropriate.  Reports providing analysis and recommendations are submitted firstly for consideration to the PCC and then to the force operational lead for implementation as applicable[1].

13. Members of Gwent’s Independent Advisory Group (IAG) are involved in processes for monitoring racial disproportionality and further to a recent review of IAG membership and activity, Gwent Police and the OPCC are exploring additional opportunities to involve members in activities that support strategic and operational priorities linked to ethnicity, diversity, legitimacy and representation.

14. We await the Home Office police bulletin on police powers and procedures, due for publication in October 2020, and will use the data to support our benchmarking and improvement processes.

15. The OPCC is a member of the Youth Offending Service Local Management Boards; as part of their scrutiny activities, the Boards monitor and work to address disproportionality linked to young people and the criminal justice system.

16. The recently reinvigorated Out of Court Disposals Scrutiny Panel for Gwent is now chaired by the OPCC.  A scrutiny programme for the Panel has been developed which includes the intention to examine contextual information and demographic data linked to the dip sample of disposals.  The outcomes of scrutiny exercises are provided to the local Criminal Justice Board for discussion and recommendations for improvement.

17. Within Gwent, the PCC has driven forward a number of prevention-based initiatives to tackle serious violence, including accessing Home Office funding to deliver holistic early intervention and prevention work in Newport with a range of delivery partners, including St Giles Trust, Barnardo’s, Newport Live and Mutual Gain.  The project commenced on October 1st, 2018 and delivery is overseen by the Serious Violence Prevention Coordinator[2]

18. Since the start of the project, over 150 people have received interventions, with improvements in educational attendance, offending rates, abusive or harmful behaviours, mental health and wellbeing and family relationships reported across the group.  In addition, over 900 intervention sessions have been delivered to families and key workers.  Other initiatives provided include staff training workshops[3] and community engagement sessions[4].

19. More broadly, the PCC has commissioned other support services to enable early intervention and break the cycle of crime.  A collaboration with the four PCCs, Chief Constables, Public Health Wales and a range of criminal justice and voluntary sector partners across Wales introduced work to address adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the increased likelihood of criminal activity from individuals with ACEs.  This continues to be delivered across Wales to transform the way in which police and partner agencies deal with the most vulnerable people in society[5].


Coronavirus Regulations

20. In April 2020, the OPCC recommended that Gwent Police undertake an Equality Impact Assessment process to determine the local impacts of Coronavirus on communities and policing/criminal justice.  Subsequently, Gwent Police has drafted a Coronavirus Recovery Plan, which is being reviewed as part of the impact assessment process.

21. During this time, we have worked with local Criminal Justice Board partners to assess and monitor the specific impacts of lockdown on vulnerable victims and criminal justice processes, and we continue to escalate concerns to and share good practice with the All Wales Criminal Justice Board.

22. Gwent Police is monitoring the use of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) under the Coronavirus Regulations, sharing the information with the OPCC to enable scrutiny and discussion.

23. A summary for the period 23rd March 2020 to 14th June 2020 identified that, of the 214 notices issued by officers, 31 were issued to members of BAME communities.  The majority of notices related to the contravention of requirements as to restriction of movement during an emergency period.  It has been noted that, based on a 5.1% BAME population for Gwent, the use of FPNs during the reporting period disproportionately affects BAME communities. 

24. With the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, the impact on the use of FPNs is unknown and monitoring will continue to ensure fair usage. 

25. The OPCC will support and hold to account Gwent Police to understand the reasons for the apparent disproportionality in use, which will feed into the wider stop and search work described earlier in this submission.

26. Most recently, the Chief Constable is one of 12 police representatives sitting on the new Police Racial Inequality Forum.  This presents a great opportunity to influence and drive progress across the UK relating to inequality and disproportionality, and we welcome the findings to support our improvement works across Gwent. 


Hate Crime

27. The OPCC and Gwent Police have published a Joint Strategic Equality Plan that continues to place hate crime as a priority for both organisations, with the following agreed as priorities:

  1. Ensure reporting mechanisms are in place that are accessible to people that share protected characteristics
  2. Work to identify hate crime perpetrators
  3. Ensure a consistent approach to case management of hate crime victims across the force area
  4. Improve knowledge and awareness of communities and police personnel of how hate crime impacts on people that share protected characteristics
  5. Increase awareness of ‘mate crime’ and cyber-crime and remedies available to assist those who are victims.

28. The PCC’s Police and Crime Plan identifies Community Cohesion as a priority and further influences work around the hate crime agenda.

29. The number of race hate crimes reported in the Force Management Statement (FMS) is much lower in 2019/20 than in the previous year.  This is partly due to the development of a dedicated ‘Hate Occurrence’ application to more accurately record this type of crime.

Hate Strand









30. Race hate crimes account for the majority of hate crimes recorded in Gwent, for both personal and online occurrences. 

31. Arrests for hate crime have seen a decline since 2017/19, from 90 to 38 in 2019/20.  Racial offences accounted for 67.9% of hate crime arrests in this financial year.


Hate Strand









32. Gwent Police’s internal Hate Crime Meeting monitors performance across reporting and recording, arrest and prosecution, and hate crime victim satisfaction.  The June 2020 meeting undertook a scoping review of hate crime case handling in Gwent, and further work between the force, the OPCC, and local hate crime partners is planned for 2020/21 to ensure that the response provided meets victims’ needs and drives improved satisfaction.

33. Gwent Police continually engages with our diverse communities to promote the reporting of hate crimes. We are very aware of the under-reporting of incidents from some communities and it is our challenge to remedy this. We look to provide trust and confidence in our communities to report all hate related matters to us.

34. Gwent Police holds regular conversations with representatives from our diverse communities via a weekly phone-in to the force, where community issues including hate and tensions are discussed.  Whilst this is not a reporting mechanism, it is an opportunity to encourage our communities to engage with the force and spread the message that we are here to assist with all crimes including hate crime.  Initially set up as a Coronavirus initiative, we have agreed to continue to host the weekly phone-in as an additional engagement tool for communities. In particular, we now have an improving relationship with our Muslim community due to the establishment of a regular community meeting.

35. In 2019, Gwent Police appointed a Positive Action Outreach Officer to support work towards becoming more representative of our communities.  Through regular, focused engagement, the role aims to raise awareness of the employment opportunities within Gwent Police and to encourage applications from under-represented groups, while addressing issues of trust and confidence in local policing and reducing barriers to participation within the police service.

36. We have developed our IAG to become more representative of our communities.  We are very mindful of the need for this group to be inclusive. In addition, we are developing, for the first time, local Cohesion groups to sit beneath the IAG to provide additional challenge and engagement on all community related matters including hate crime and stop and search. We have also developed a youth cohesion group aimed at encouraging younger people to report incidents to us.

37. Our challenge going forward is to become a greater part of the community to increase their trust and confidence in us as a force that is able and capable to effectively deal with hate incidents and support the victim throughout.

38. The Hate Crime Criminal Justice Board (HCCJB) Cymru is co-ordinated by the Welsh Government (WG) and attended by all four police forces and PCC offices in Wales, the CPSV and Victim Support, as well as a range of other relevant partners and stakeholders.  The Group is a standing group to advise Welsh Ministers and policy makers about tackling hate crime and to make required changes in the training and reporting of hate crime across agencies in Wales.  It is currently chaired by the Head of the Police Liaison Unit for the WG. 

39. The HCCJB Cymru:


June 2020


[1] https://www.gwent.pcc.police.uk/en/transparency/know-your-rights/stop-and-search/stop-and-search-scrutiny/

[2] https://www.gwent.pcc.police.uk/en/news/guest-blog-kelly-williams-serious-violence-prevention-coordinator/ 

[3] https://www.gwent.police.uk/en/newsroom/story/news/understanding-serious-youth-violence-and-gangs-in-gwent-opjigsaw/

[4] https://www.gwent.pcc.police.uk/en/news/world-cafe-to-tackle-serious-and-organised-crime-held-in-newport/

[5] https://www.gwent.police.uk/en/newsroom/story/news/more-gwent-families-offered-support-earlier-thanks-to-early-action-together-programme/