ARGUS COMMENT: People want a police force they can trust to protect them

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VIOLENT crime up by more than a quarter - the biggest increase in England and Wales.

Crime of all kinds up by two per cent - the only increase in Wales.

The crime figures for 2013 do not make great reading for Gwent Police.

They come at the end of a turbulent period for our local force. During 2013, Gwent lost its chief constable, and became embroiled in a national debate about the accuracy of crime figures.

Given that Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston claimed repeatedly that crimes were deliberately being recorded incorrectly, and that new chief constable Jeff Farrar told MPs his officers had misrecorded some crimes, it was perhaps inevitable that the next set of crime figures would show increases after years of moving in the opposite direction.

Mr Johnston says the new figures are 'ethical and accurate' and reflect the 'actual' level of crime in the area.

He also says the force is moving away from numerical targets and focusing more on quality of service.

The understandable response of some of our readers will be: "Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?"

But it is clear there has been a significant change in the way the police are going about their business in Gwent.

If the new figures are accurate, then all well and good. But further increases will damage both Mr Johnston's reputation and risk him being seen as a lame duck PCC in the run-up to the next election.

There is some good news among the figures - not least significant falls in the number of dugs and burglary offences.

The challenge now for Gwent Police is to become what most people actually want - a police force they can trust to serve and protect them.

Comments (4)

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9:31am Fri 25 Apr 14

Magor says...

Cook the books and it will come back and bite you.I expect peoples insurance could go up now.
Cook the books and it will come back and bite you.I expect peoples insurance could go up now. Magor
  • Score: -2

11:30am Fri 25 Apr 14

Jonnytrouble says...

Quote
'' Gwent Police has blamed the spike in violent crime figures in part on changes to how they are recorded – ''
The TRUTH is out,must be the commissioner doing his job we paid him to do,hope more ' worm ' comes out of the rotton woodwork !
Quote '' Gwent Police has blamed the spike in violent crime figures in part on changes to how they are recorded – '' The TRUTH is out,must be the commissioner doing his job we paid him to do,hope more ' worm ' comes out of the rotton woodwork ! Jonnytrouble
  • Score: 2

1:23pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Abertillery29 says...

It appears that Gwent Police are trying to be more honest with the public they serve..Quite a few other forces countrywide are belatedly admitting that they too 'cooked the books'. Why not give the PCC and the new Chief Constable,Deputy and Assistant a period to fully sort out what went before with a previous Chief Officer who only wished to please her Home Office masters.
It appears that Gwent Police are trying to be more honest with the public they serve..Quite a few other forces countrywide are belatedly admitting that they too 'cooked the books'. Why not give the PCC and the new Chief Constable,Deputy and Assistant a period to fully sort out what went before with a previous Chief Officer who only wished to please her Home Office masters. Abertillery29
  • Score: 5

2:23pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Cymru Am Beth says...

Trouble is that these days the police are too PC (pardon the pun).
They are no longer an effective deterrent.
They command no respect from the public anymore and are rarely seen on the street.
The Gwent area is policed by PCSO's and part-time Specials.
Shambolic situation, but a sign of the times I'm afraid.
No wonder they lose cases in court.
How can a PCSO be a match for a good defence lawyer?
Considering that the majority of calls seem to be answered by them these days, I shudder to think what evidence they present to the court.
Trouble is that these days the police are too PC (pardon the pun). They are no longer an effective deterrent. They command no respect from the public anymore and are rarely seen on the street. The Gwent area is policed by PCSO's and part-time Specials. Shambolic situation, but a sign of the times I'm afraid. No wonder they lose cases in court. How can a PCSO be a match for a good defence lawyer? Considering that the majority of calls seem to be answered by them these days, I shudder to think what evidence they present to the court. Cymru Am Beth
  • Score: 7

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