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Elfyn Llwyd MP questions South Wales Police appointment

By DPF Admin2nd July 2014August 6th, 2019Area Updates, Latest News, Northern Updates, Southern Updates

A senior Welsh MP is to write to the Home Secretary questioning South Wales Police's choice of assistant chief constable.

Elfyn Llwyd asks if it was appropriate that Nikki Holland was given the job while a report into an investigation she led has not yet been published.

It looked at South Wales Police's role in one of Britain's worst miscarriages of justice.

The force said her work on it ended two years before she applied for the post.

Three men from Cardiff spent a decade in jail after being wrongly convicted of killing newsagent Phillip Saunders in the Canton area of the city in 1987.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) set-up Operation Resolute in 2010 in response to claims from one of the wrongly convicted men that evidence was fabricated by a South Wales Police officer.

A year later, Nikki Holland, then a detective superintendent with Merseyside Police, was selected by the IPCC to take over the investigation, which has now been completed.

Control over publication of the operation's report lies with South Wales Police.

In February, the force said it would publish the report “in as much detail as possible” once it had been signed off by the IPCC. It will be submitted for sign-off in the next few weeks.

Plaid Cymru MP Mr Llwyd said appointing Ms Holland as assistant chief constable before publishing the report was a “curious situation” that requires explanation.

He says he is writing to the Home Secretary to ask whether Ms Holland's appointment was appropriate.

He said there was “something odd” that a person who led a very far-reaching and important report into a miscarriage of justice by South Wales Police suddenly becomes one of its most senior officers before its publication.

“Secondly, I've asked the Home Secretary…to ensure the report is published fully and urgently or alternatively that she can explain fully and urgently what is the true reason for any further delay,” he said.

In 2009, Ms Holland was promoted to superintendent at Merseyside Police and later began working on overseeing the operation.

South Wales Police deputy chief constable Matt Jukes said: “Following a thorough and robust investigation, this work was completed in April 2012 around two years before Ms Holland applied for her current position”.

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