ELEVEN Gwent Police officers have been served with misconduct notices as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of inappropriate messages found on a phone belonging to a deceased officer.
Ricky Jones, who was a police officer for 26 years before retiring, passed away in 2020, and his eldest daughter Emma allegedly discovered evidence of a culture of “sexual harassment of junior female colleagues” and corruption within the force on his iPhone.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been investigating the conduct of a number of Gwent Police officers related to the alleged messages.
Since the investigation started, the IOPC has served notices on 11 current or former Gwent Police officers, indicating that their conduct is under investigation. In November, it was announced that three officers had been suspended.
The IOPC has served gross misconduct notices on two current and two former police officers, as well as a misconduct notice on a serving officer, all relating to inappropriate or offensive messages found on the phone of the deceased former officer.
The notices serve to advise officers that their conduct is subject to investigation and do not necessarily imply that any disciplinary charges will follow.
Additionally, the IOPC has served notices at the level of misconduct on a further four Gwent Police officers, three serving and one former, who were involved in a WhatsApp group where messages were shared. The IOPC is examining allegations that these officers failed to challenge or report inappropriate messages sent by colleagues.
Two serving officers are also under criminal investigation for the alleged unauthorized disclosure of police information to Ricky Jones after he left Gwent Police.
These two officers have been served with gross misconduct notices, but they are not being investigated over offensive messages.
The investigation is looking into the exchange of messages, unauthorized sharing of police information, and whether any serving officers failed to challenge or report the conduct of their colleagues. The IOPC is reviewing the involvement of any other officers as further information comes to light. Officers who are subject to investigation range from police constable to inspecting ranks.
The Sunday Times published reports of the content of the messages, which included jokes between a serving and retired officer about Jimmy Savile, videos of a woman stripping and inserting objects into herself, and allegations of sexual harassment, drink driving, and domestic violence within the force.
Director David Ford of the IOPC said that the investigation would take some time, given the number of officers involved and the non-recent nature of the alleged conduct. The IOPC is also investigating when Gwent Police became aware of the concerns raised by Ricky Jones’ family and what steps the force took to address them.
Reports of the content of the messages included:
- Jokes between a serving and retired officer about Jimmy Savile, the late sexual predator and BBC DJ, being sent to rescue 12 schoolboys who in 2018 were trapped in caves in Thailand. One was a picture of Savile with the quote “12 Thai school boys need rescuing? You need…”
- Videos sent by a serving officer showing a woman stripping and inserting objects into herself as part of a “magic show”.
- A former officer saying of Gwent Police: “When you look at the sex pests, drink drivers and wife beaters still sitting cosy up there its wrong”.
- Officers saying a colleague carried a “sex kit” in the boot of his car.
- A retired officer sharing a news article about men assaulting women at railway stations to a serving officer, alongside the caption: “Seen [name of officer] recently?”
- A retired officer saying of a female officer: “I actually got her to lift her skirt in Cardiff once.”
A separate Wiltshire Police investigation is ongoing into a series of complaints from the family of Ricky Jones. This relates to Gwent Police’s handling of its investigation into his death and officers’ contact with his relatives.