Two senior Gwent Police officers face possible criminal charges over alleged sex attack at chief constable’s ‘boozy’ retirement party
- Mark Warrender and Marc Budden were both suspended for alleged misconduct
- Woman officer complained after leaving do of former top cop Julian Williams
- Probe undertaken by outside police force and overseen by the police watchdog
- IOPC says file handed to CPS to consider if criminal charges should be brought
Two senior police officers in Wales are facing possible criminal charges over an alleged sex attack at a chief constable’s ‘boozy’ leaving party.
Chief Superintendent Mark Warrender, head of CID for Gwent Police, was suspended after a complaint from a woman officer following the retirement bash.
His temporary assistant chief constable Marc Budden was also suspended for alleged misconduct as an investigation was launched.
The pair were accused following the leaving do of former Chief Constable Julian Williams as he left the £138,500-a-year role in June last year.
A criminal investigation was undertaken by an outside police force and overseen by the police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
The IOPC say that following a year-long probe a file has been handed to the CPS to consider if criminal charges should be brought.
Chief Superintendent Mark Warrender, pictured left, head of CID, and his temporary assistant chief constable Marc Budden, pictured right, were suspended after a complaint from a woman officer after the bash
A spokesperson said: ‘The investigation carried out by Avon and Somerset Police, managed by the IOPC, into the conduct of senior Gwent Police officers associated with an event in Cardiff on 28 June last year has concluded.
‘Since completion of the investigation in July this year, we have decided to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether any criminal charge should be brought against any officer.
‘Relevant material, including the investigation report, is in the process of being sent to the CPS for their consideration.’
Warrender joined the force in 1996 and is the head of the criminal investigation department.
Budden joined the force in 1993 and was in charge of neighbourhood policing, partnerships and uniform operations before becoming temporary assistant chief constable.
The champagne and beer farewell party began at the force HQ in Cwmbran, Gwent, before moving onto a nightspot in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.
All the high-ranking officers from the 1,300-strong Gwent force were invited to the leaving party for Chief Constable Williams – along with another chief constable from the neighbouring South Wales force.
A police source said: ‘It is shocking. The last thing you expect is a crime at a chief constable’s leaving party where all the senior officers would have been there.
‘A lot of police leaving dos are a bit boozy and this was no different – but Julian Williams is a good chief and this will really upset him. He wouldn’t want this linked to his name.
‘A lot of officers are disgusted that there are double standards at top senior levels.’
Gwent Police HQ in Cwmbran, Gwent, pictured, where the senior officers were based
Other officers are being investigated for misconduct but have not been suspended after protesting their innocence.
Former Chief Constable Williams, 54, spent two years in the top role at the force which has its HQ in Croesyceiliog, Cwmbran, South Wales.
He had racked up 30 years in service including 25 years with South Wales Police.
The officer was appointed Chief Constable of Gwent Police on August 1, 2017 after first joining as Assistant Chief Constable.
His said his aim in the role was to prioritise dealing with complex crime while maintaining a community-based force.
After announcing his retirement he praised Gwent Police officers for their ‘energy and professionalism.’
He said: ‘It has been a huge privilege to work in Gwent Police for the last five years and a real honour to be the Chief Constable of the force for two years.
‘I have always been impressed by the commitment, energy and professionalism displayed by my colleagues in the force.’
Officers from the neighbouring Avon and Somerset Police travelled 35 miles over the Welsh border to carry out interviews with police officers at the event.
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