THE new chief constable for Gwent Police has asked for clarity on how the Prime Minister's promise of new officers will be funded, and identified protecting the most vulnerable in society as her top priority.

Pam Kelly saw off two other candidates to secure the top job at Gwent Police, taking over from outgoing chief constable Julian Williams.

But she has taken on the role at a difficult time, with the number of reported crimes in Gwent rising by almost 19 per cent since last year.

In her first interview with the South Wales Argus, Ms Kelly said she welcomed Boris Johnson's pledge to hire 20,000 extra officers, but added there was uncertainty about how it would be funded.

“It is good that policing is being discussed at a very high level,” she said.

South Wales Argus:

(Pam Kelly)

“We do not know what it means for Gwent Police yet.

“We need to make sure that we understand what the finances look like in terms of additions.

“We need to really understand the affordability, not just for this year, but on an ongoing basis.

“It is not just about boots on the ground. It is about the training and equipment that staff need.”


Ms Kelly, who has worked in the police force for 25 years, said her biggest priority was to ensure the most vulnerable in society receive the “best service possible”.

She said: “I am passionate about making sure we safeguard our children and victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse.

“I want Gwent Police to deliver the best service possible to vulnerable people.”

“My next priority is to tackle and be proactive in tackling serious and organised crime,” she continued.

“It comes in a whole array of disguises - such as human trafficking, fraud, etc. Understanding it and being relentless in tackling it is of great importance. We have taken out tiers of organised crime through our operations.

“My third priority is that in Gwent, as in across the UK, officers and staff work really hard. I want to raise awareness among the public the tireless work that they do in keeping people safe.”

She also spoke of the need to get to grips with other crimes, such as cybercrime and knife crime, and of the difficulties the force sometimes encounters when faced with prioritising crimes.

“We need to deal with high-risk crime and crime that has an impact on vulnerable people. That is a must,” she said.

"The difficulty we sometimes have is that people – for instance, who have reported a smashed window - do not understand that it may take us a little while to get there because we are dealing with, for instance, a rape.

“We have to prioritise the threat and risk of crimes above those where there is not so much of a threat or risk."

Yesterday, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, suggested 200 extra officers could join the force, but added more "clarity" was needed on how they would be funded.