Content warning: Descriptions of sexual assault and domestic abuse

The scale and secrecy of Welsh police force misconduct has been revealed for the first time in an investigation by The National.

Our analysis shows that a disturbing proportion of recent police force dismissals related to significant abuses of power, physical violence and sex offences – and demonstrated a concerning lack of transparency.

These findings come in the wake of UK-wide revelations about police misconduct that have shaken public trust in forces, and raised questions about institutional misogyny. 

READ MORE: Police 'institutionally sexist', says Welsh Spycops victim

Dismissal records for all four Welsh police forces were collated by The National, and sorted according to reason for dismissal. Most of the 61 officers had previously been identified, but 11 cases were either heard in private or were not published in adequate time for journalists to report on them.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May said this week that the police disciplinary process is “worryingly opaque”, after a Times investigation found half of misconduct notices published across England and Wales were anonymised. 

Of the records obtained by The National, several key themes became clear.

Sexual harassment

Around 5% of dismissals in Welsh police forces over the past three years related to sexual harassment of colleagues and members of the public.

Along with a litany of other professional standards breaches, South Wales Police officer Ian Sullivan was fired early this year for making inappropriate sexual comments about young women he encountered while on duty. 

Other breaches by Sullivan included “improper handling of a Taser", and failing to follow procedure for a drug seizure.

SWP Sergeant Adam Reed, 40, made headlines last year when his affair with PC Jemma Dicks, 28, put them both before a misconduct hearing.

That the two had sex in Cardiff Central Police Station received much of the attention, but Sgt Reed, who was married, also admitted to secretly photographing a female colleague’s feet to satisfy his foot fetish, causing her “significant” distress.

The National Wales: Sgt Reed had sex with at least 2 colleagues at Cardiff Central police stationSgt Reed had sex with at least 2 colleagues at Cardiff Central police station

PC Dicks had characterised her relationship with Reed as abusive and controlling, claiming he had regularly checked her phone. The police station incidents were said to have been “orchestrated” by Reed as a reaction to jealousy or irritation towards Dicks.

Using police information systems to harass partners and members of the public

Two dismissals from Dyfed Powys Police this year involved male police officers using information available to them through their roles to harass women.

PC Michael Westbury, 55, from Aberystwyth, was fired in February this year after he admitted “frequently and repeatedly” using police computer systems to access information on the ex-partner of his girlfriend, telling her he “didn’t like what he’d seen”.

The National Wales: Three Dyfed Powys police officers in the past 3 years have been sacked for abusing police information resourcesThree Dyfed Powys police officers in the past 3 years have been sacked for abusing police information resources

Sergeant Jack Brennan, 24, was fired from the same force in April. He had fined a 19 year-old girl for an apparent Covid violation, and then asked her out for coffee using the phone number she supplied on the Penalty Charge Notice. 

When the girl, who described the officer as intimidating, asked how Brennan knew her number, he replied “The ticket, a little naughty of me I know, sorry.

"You seemed nice and I thought I would try my luck."

Dyfed Powys Police confirmed that a further incident involving a male officer carrying out unauthorised computer checks didn't involve checks on a romantic partner, but did not provide further details.

The force told The National that reporting this officer's name is restricted "in accordance with the relevant regulations and based on the specific circumstances of the case", but declined to specify those circumstances.

South Wales Police officer Timothy Hunt, was dismissed last summer when it was found that he’d used police systems 12 times to check up on women he’d been dating. 

In total, around 8% of dismissals were related to power abuses of this kind.

Inappropriate Relationships

Multiple officers across three Welsh forces have been fired for having inappropriate relationships with vulnerable people they met through work; 6% of dismissals in total.

North Wales PC Andrea Griffiths was dismissed in 2019, after it emerged that she had a sexual relationship with a male alleged victim of historic sexual abuse, who she’d been responsible for in her role as a family liaison officer.

The National Wales: PC Chadwick had "inappropriate relationships" with vulnerable women he met through workPC Chadwick had "inappropriate relationships" with vulnerable women he met through work

51 year-old Paul Chadwick recently admitted to having sex with two vulnerable women he met through his work as a Gwent PC. 

The relationships took place early last year, and his behaviour came to light in November, when one of the women was found distressed “on the wrong side of the railings over a road”. Chadwick had first come into contact with her after she’d been reported missing. 

Physical Violence

Between 2018-2021 officers in all Welsh forces have been fired for physically assaulting people, both on and off duty, with multiple incidents involving biting. 

SWP’s Joshua Cavill, 26, was arrested in 2019 after he slapped and bit people while drunk in Live Lounge, Cardiff. During his arrest, Cavill claimed he had a “Glock” handgun. A year previously, he’d also bitten colleagues, one female, while at Brewhouse bar, Cardiff.

The National Wales: PC Cavill bit and slapped members of the public while drinking at Live Lounge in 2019PC Cavill bit and slapped members of the public while drinking at Live Lounge in 2019

Superintendent Robert Kirkman, 49, of North Wales Police, was arrested for drunkenly assaulting a taxi driver in 2017. Records say that on top of ranting at and beating Sardesh Hassan, he caused £366 worth of damage to the man’s vehicle. 

It was later found that Kirkman had also committed £21,000 in fraud, though he avoided prison.

Domestic Abuse

Five dismissals for domestic abuse took place over the past four years (8% of all dismissals), with one as recent as late August. 

PC Allan Roberts was dismissed from SWP this summer after a campaign of harassment towards an ex-girlfriend who had broken up with him in January 2020.

Over several months, Roberts sent a barrage of hateful and threatening messages to the woman through multiple social media accounts, as well as with his SWP email account, despite being told by the Professional Standards Department to stop. 

Roberts called the woman “a pathetic wretched creature”, threatened to publish intimate footage of her without her consent, left bad online reviews of her business, and sent a message calling her a “lying cheating b*****” through her company website. 

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A constable with Gwent Police for 26 years, Clarke Joslyn, was found last year to have engaged in a repeated pattern of “physically abusive, domineering and controlling” behaviour towards two ex-partners, including choking, and on one occasion pinning his girlfriend to a wall while holding a knife.

William Jones, of Dyfed Powys Police, was sacked in December 2020 after threatening to kill his wife and assault his 13 year-old son. 

An investigation by Channel 4 this year found that at least 129 women since 2019 had approached the Centre for Women’s Justice with reports of rape, beatings and coercion by police officer partners.

In an interview with The National recently, former North Wales Police Commissioner Arfon Jones said he fears domestic abusers are employed by "every force in the country".

Sexual Offences

The National previously reported that eight SWP officers and two NWP officers had been arrested for sex offences between 2018-2021, according to data published by i-News in September.

Further data released by the Press Association’s Radar service this week found that 750 police officers across the UK had been accused of sexual misconduct between 2016-2020. Twenty-six of these officers were employed by South Wales Police and two by Gwent Police - though it’s unclear how many complaints were upheld. 

Twelve allegations were made against North Wales Police in this time, with two resulting in dismissals and one in “management action” - but details about these cases have not been released.

An FOI disclosure this year recorded that a number of serious allegations against North Wales Police officers, including indecent exposure and sexual abuse, were referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

However an attempt by The National to confirm the outcome of these allegations with the IOPC has as yet been unsuccessful. An allegation does not necessarily mean guilt.

Elsewhere in Wales, at least three officers were dismissed for sexual offences recently. 

Most notable was the case of Dean Roberts, 48, who in 2018 was jailed for 12 years, alongside former Welsh Government legal advisor John Guess, for the rape and assault of very young children. Many of the attacks were filmed or photographed for online distribution.

The National Wales: PC Roberts was found to have raped a very young child on camera (Photo: SWP)PC Roberts was found to have raped a very young child on camera (Photo: SWP)

Other Issues

Three officers were sacked for theft of money between 2018-2021, and five were fired for drink-driving or being drunk on duty.

Tonypandy police detective Mark Hopkins was jailed in 2019, after it was found he'd accepted a bribe in 2008 to intimidate a teenager who'd been attacked with a baseball bat into withdrawing his statement.

Gwent PC Molly Parr was dismissed this year after a 2019 incident in which she was drunkenly abusive to a homeless man and used a racial slur while out in Cardiff.

What do forces say? 

A Dyfed Powys Police spokesperson said: “The fact there have been a number of Misconduct Hearings in recent years relating to violence against women and girls, and abuses of power, shows a greater understanding of these issues and, importantly, the willingness of people to come forward. 

“The force has been working proactively for a number of years to tackle the issue of abuse of position by educating officers and staff and encouraging the reporting of these issues. 

“The Professional Standards Department links in with partner agencies to raise awareness and encourage the reporting of information and concerns."

Superintendent Leanne Brustad, head of Gwent Police’s professional standards department, said: “The purpose of the police misconduct process is not just to hold officers and staff, or former employees on occasion, to account for their actions; it is to maintain public confidence in the police service, uphold high standards and protect the public.”

A South Wales Police spokesperson added: “Recent cases have demonstrated why it is so important for every officer and member of staff to maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism and it is down to everyone, regardless of rank or role, to report any colleagues who fall short of these standards.

"Most hearings are held in public but where a hearing cannot be held in public without, for example, compromising the identity of vulnerable witnesses, or where there are significant welfare concerns, it may be held in private.

"It is always our aim to be open and transparent about misconduct proceedings unless there are exceptional circumstances that prevent us publicly issuing information." 

Support for victims of domestic abuse can be found through Live Fear Free here.

Support for Post Traumatic Stress is available here.

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