A family abused by a Gwent Police officer for decades have said they were "let down" by the man charged with holding the force to account.

When messages were found on retired cop Ricky Jones' phone after his death it created a UK-wide scandal. They were horrific and demonstrated homophobia, racism, the repeated demeaning of women and possible corruption in the Welsh police force.

Those messages were found by his family after the 52-year-old jumped to his death two years ago. They spoke to WalesOnline about why they put the messages in the public domain and the decades of domestic abuse and control they suffered from him while he presented the image of a model officer to the world.

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At the time the messages came out the family, who bravely spoke out about the issues in the force, were highly critical of the current Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Jeff Cuthbert who they accused of prioritising protecting the force instead of holding them accountable. The role of the PCC is to be the voice of the public in policing, ensuring the force is accountable.

The force itself has been mired in a series of scandals over the last decade including one officer being kept in post after abusing several women and two senior officers being dismissed after inappropriate behaviour at a party.

In May, Wales will elect a new set of PCCs for the countries four forces with Mr Cuthbert stepping down from his role. An open letter from Hanna Andersen and Nancy Cole, co-leaders of Women’s Equality Party Wales said that "women are tired of platitudes and empty promises" and that "we all need a PCC who will take action".

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Within it they included a statement from Ricky Jones' family who said: "As victims of a police perpetrator, and as a family navigating an extensive complaint process and investigation, we felt let down by our PCC. We expected more. The PCC should represent the people, not Gwent Police. We expected our elected PCC to stand with us and support us.

"We need a new PCC who understands victims and their struggle, as well as someone who will take a new approach, not just for us, but for others who may go through similar situations in the future.”

This letter was sent to the four candidates in the Gwent PCC election:

  • Donna Cushing (Plaid Cymru)
  • Mike Hamilton (Welsh Liberal Democrats)
  • Hannah Jarvis (Conservative)
  • Jane Mudd (Labour and Co-operative Party)

The letter from the Women’s Equality Party Wales added: "The message is clear, the people of Gwent need a new PCC with a new approach.

"Whilst we welcome the ongoing investigations into officers at the force, this individualised approach will do nothing to uproot the culture of misogyny and racism which allow this type of toxic behaviour to thrive. That’s why we’re writing to you, asking that you face this head on."

They asked the new PPC to commit to saying that if they you are elected to serve as Police and Crime Commissioner, they will:

  • Commission a full root and branch review of the culture at Gwent Police and make these findings public

  • Ask the UK Government to launch a statutory inquiry to specifically investigate racism and misogyny in the force

  • Centre the people and communities that are being the most failed in decisions about where we go from here to build a service that actually protects the people of Gwent

The added: "We know that eliminating structural racism and misogyny is not a job that can be done overnight, and that it will take enormous effort and commitment to prevent the ongoing failures and injustices in policing. If elected, you will have the direct power to start building trust between the community and Gwent Police.