GWENT Police’s overall force judgement rating has fallen for the first time in four years, following the publication of an inspectorate report.

Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary and fire and rescue services (HMICFRS) latest effectiveness report has been issued today.

However, the same report also ruled that the Gwent force is investing the most of all the 43 forces in Wales and England in neighbourhood policing.

The expenditure allocated to neighbourhood policing is calculated per head of population, with Gwent Police’s falling just under £60.

This figure is down on the 2016 estimate, which was calculated at just over £65 per head of population.

Jeff Cuthbert, the police and crime commissioner for Gwent, said that despite ongoing austerity, the force’s continued investment in frontline police was “positive”.

He said: “It is really positive to see that Gwent Police is continuing to invest in its frontline policing service, despite a period of austerity.

"Our savings plans have always been focused on reducing back and middle office functions and non-pay costs, thereby protecting the resources where the public need them most.”

The annual inspection of force effectiveness conducted by the police watchdog praised Gwent Police for its awareness of vulnerability.

However, the report noted areas of improvement including supporting victims and its use of body worn cameras in domestic abuse incidents.

The report ruled that Gwent Police was rated ‘good’ at crime prevention and investigation, while ‘requires improvement’ with vulnerability and serious and organised crime.

Together, that led to an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’ for Gwent Police.

Julian Williams, the force’s chief constable, said, “Although it is disappointing to lose our ‘good’ rating, I am extremely encouraged by the work already happening within Gwent Police to improve performance in key areas such as supporting victims and protecting vulnerable people.

“We are never complacent and I am committed to ensuring we deliver on Gwent Police’s core promise to protect and reassure the communities we serve.”