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Gwent police officers’ misconduct hearings over WhatsApp investigation

CHIEF Constable Pam Kelly of Gwent Police has announced the outcome of an independent investigation concerning allegations of inappropriate conduct by both former and serving officers of the force. The inquiry, conducted by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), was initiated following reports in November 2022 about concerning WhatsApp messages.

The IOPC’s findings have resulted in two currently serving officers and one former officer being slated for gross misconduct hearings, slated to commence promptly. These proceedings follow misconduct meetings for four other officers, where three were found guilty of misconduct and received written warnings. The fourth officer was cleared of misconduct charges.

An additional serving officer under investigation by the IOPC will no longer be subject to inquiry, as the IOPC has withdrawn its investigation. Regarding former officers and those who have resigned, Chief Constable Kelly expressed limitations under Police Regulations in pursuing further actions. However, she noted that had these individuals still been serving, they would have been subjected to misconduct proceedings.

Chief Constable Kelly emphasised the department’s commitment to maintaining high ethical standards, stating, “Our communities and our staff deserve the highest of standards from our officers, and we continue to work hard to deal with those who do not meet our high expectations.”

She also highlighted that the vast majority of Gwent Police officers uphold the principles of pride, professionalism, and integrity, which the public rightfully expects and deserves.

The investigation initially encompassed 11 officers, including nine serving and two former officers. Of these, gross misconduct charges have been brought against three, with the two serving officers involved currently suspended from duty.

Furthermore, four officers have undergone misconduct meetings, with three receiving written warnings and the fourth directed to engage in reflective practice.

Two officers resigned during the investigation, precluding any further action against them, while another officer, having left the force years before the IOPC’s investigation began, also escapes further action under existing regulations.

This case stands as a stark reminder of the consequences of inappropriate behaviour, especially online, with Chief Constable Kelly affirming, “We have been abundantly clear that we will not tolerate poor behaviour and this case should act as a stark warning of the consequences of inappropriate online behaviour.”

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