GWENT'S soon-to-retire Chief Constable has told the Argus of his pride in having overseen the force as it has made “significant inroads” into tackling complex crime.

Many forces have experienced a rise in reported crime in recent years.

And Gwent Police is no exception.

But despite this, Julian Williams - in his first interview since announcing his retirement two months ago - stressed that Gwent Police are continuing to tackle issues in the vicinity.

“We have made significant inroads in tackling complex crime, including cybercrime of a sexual and financial nature,” he said.

"Crime is rising because more people are starting to report incidents.

"But we have the knowledge and experienced staff to tackle them.

“I am proud of what my officers are doing.”

The 53-year-old, who has been in

the force's top job for two years

, said such offences have been “challenging” at times.

"Crime has changed in its complexity," said Mr Williams.

"Crime often has a digital footprint now. This then brings in more complexities.

"But we are tackling wrongdoings in many ways. We now have a social media desk, for instance, where the public can report crimes in a different way.

“We have risen to the challenges and the force will continue to do this.”


Increasing the number of officers is just one of many highlights over the last two years for Mr Williams.

“The force has achieved a number of things,” he said.

“A real achievement has been increasing the recruitment of police officers to 1,330. In 2010 we were 1,450. We then went down to 1,179.

“What is pleasing is that we have been able to go to 1,330 which is excellent.

“We also have more officers in Newport to tackle issues in the city.

"And over the last two years we have conducted

a number of operations

which have confiscated large amounts of cash and class A drugs, vehicles and given a number of people custodial sentences.”

Two large-scale drug dismantling operations included Operation Finch and Jewels.

Mr Williams previously said: “Jewels concentrated on Newport specifically and we have convicted more than 50 individuals on drug-related criminality. Finch is a drug-related criminality too.

“These were long-term, complex operations which have been very effective.”

But for Mr Williams his proudest achievement has been ensuring his staff’s high well-being.

He said: "We have a huge health and well-being agenda. I am committed to the belief that if we treat people well and with the correct equipment to perform their role, they will do just that.

"It is a huge achievement that we have delivered over the last two years.”

But following a 30-year career in policing Mr Williams decided in April that it was time to hang up his boots.

He had some advice for his successor, saying: "To lead a force, like Gwent Police which has a proud tradition, is a fabulous opportunity.

“You need to constantly engage with staff internally and you will meet the challenges of the future.

"The challenges of the future will be met by working in collaboration with other organisations.”

He added: "I have been very fortunate in Gwent to have worked with a really talented staff.

“I would like to thank my team and Jeff Cuthbert, the police and crime commissioner, for their support.”

Mr Williams' first post with Gwent Police was assistant chief constable in 2014, and three years later he rose to become chief constable.