30 minutes is allocated for questions to the Gwent Police representative.
Superintendent M Richards gave the Council an update on current police matters before inviting questions from councillors.
Crime had decreased during the past five months with 2,000 fewer offences; Covid would have played some part in this. Burglaries had reduced by comparison to other forces in Wales. August saw a low crime month with around 40/50 fewer incidents than the previous year. May and July this year saw the pro-active team deal with seizure of 200 vehicles, anti-social behaviour and supplying of drugs. Huge quantities of Class A drugs to the value of £5M was seized. Operation Washington resulted in seven drug dealers being arrested and most had received significant sentences.
Newport Central – Tackling antisocial behaviour was a priority as well as dealing with begging and drug misuse by the main bus station. The night time economy changed during the pandemic and footfall was very low. The Superintendent thanked M Cridland, Regulatory Services Manager, Commercial Standards and the Licensing Team for support visiting nightclubs. The Police, working in partnership with the local authority at the beginning of lockdown were able to re-house over 100 rough sleepers, this had a positive impact on anti social behaviour and begging.
Newport West – There was a spate shed burglaries in the early summer months in Allt-yr-yn and a number of people were arrested and charged. A new mutli-agency governance meeting as established; Safer Pill which was attended by members and residents. There were 25 arrests in the Pill area in August with numerous vehicles seized. The Travellers encampment at Sandpiper Way, Duffryn that had arrived in May had now gone. There had been several calls regarding off road bikes within the Bettws, Malpas and Shaftesburyarea, a number of these bikes were seized. The Superintendent was part of the Peterstone and Wentloog group; PRAID which met recently. There was an unsightly incident on Saturday 12 September where a number of travellers riding around on pony traps completely disrupted the City Centre, this took place during 2.30pm to 6pm. The Police had no intelligence it was taking place, the Travellers met in a pub car park in Duffryn before parading through Newport. The Police would be regularly monitoring the licenced premises in the future. Maseglas anti social behaviour teams were also looking into the issues.
Newport East - Car cruises in Spytty area were not taking place after a recent meeting with the Police. Inspector Cawley updated the Superintendent advising that anti social behaviour under George St Bridge, Corporation Road, Old Barn Estate and Black Ash were priorities. The Caerleon anti social behaviour team were also spending more time in this area.
The Leader thanked Superintendent Richards and the Police for their hard work during the pandemic. Both the Council and Police had seen challenging times and at every level, the engagement with Gwent Police had been really effective. The Leader recently met with the new Chief Superintendent and also wished to pass on her thanks. The approach taken by the Police and the support they had shown towards the Council’s enforcement team reflected the maturity of the Council/Police relationship.
The Leader had a question from the residents of Malpas, Bettws and Shaftesbury where off road bikes were being used, these impacted on active travel routes. The Leader asked what assurances could Police give that this was being addressed. The Superintendent assured the Leader that feedback would be taken back to the Inspector and his team,this would also be a priority in the coming weeks.
§ Councillor R Jeavons referred to the car cruises along the SDR and the ongoing dialogue with the aforementioned groups. The Superintentendent had a productive meeting with event organisers recently regarding a recent gathering. There would be no further meetings for 6-8 months. The Police were also working closely with Tesco to make it a difficult place to visit.
§ Councillor D Harvey informed the Superintendent of near miss incidents relating to the travellers’ dangerous event with traps, that almost caused a collision with pedestrians, including a young mum and child. There was aggressive behaviour towards members at NISV and unprovoked fights and damage to the cost of £500 to the play park. Councillor had a briefing with Newport Live and understood that Police could have used Section 61 to manage the situation, or made arrests. The Superintendent had received regular briefings from Newport Live and would arrange a meeting with Cllr Harvey to go through what was discussed.
§ Councillor M Evans thanked police staff for their hard work during lockdown and local lockdown. Councillor asked if the Council should have taken civic action in relation to the Sandpiper Way encampment, or was it the responsibility of the police. There was a multi-agency joint protocol in Gwent regarding unauthorised encampments. The lead role was to rest with the local authority, however there were restrictions imposed by WG on local authority’s due to Covid-19. Police did have certain powers under Section 61 although there was certain criteria relating to these powers and when they could be used. The local authority had similar powers under Section 77 of the same Act. The calls from residents however were low level therefore Section 61 was not triggered.
§ Councillor M Rahman referred to the lack of police response in Victoria Ward. There was a brawl recently that took place outside a Fried Chicken Takeaway shop on Corporation Road. Councillor was only made aware of fight on Face Book when owners posted footage. Police had not contacted or visited them and perpetrators were not apprehended. The lack of police response might be due to people not reporting incidents and Councillor requested that this be raised with the team. The Superintendent was not aware of the incident but would take messages back to the Newport East Team.
§ Councillor Hughes thanked the police for their support with licensing related matters. On 26 September, Caerleon had a significant house party and police attended the scene at 2.30am but left allowing the party to continue until 3.30am, when the partygoers had dispersed, vehicles were doing wheel spins and playing loud music. More attention was needed in Caerleon as there was a rise in anti social behaviour and councillor welcomed the police presence. The Superintendent would receive a briefing on the incident and report back to the councillor.
§ Councillor Holyoake congratulated both the Superintendent and Inspector Williams on their work in the Pill Ward. There had been a Travellers encampment on Alexander and Commercial Road. Drinking in public had also risen considerably. The Pill advisory group suggested that a PSPO order should be put back in place. The local chemist in the area had also seen an increase of drug users on the street outside and regular ambulance call outs to take the users to hospital. The Superintendent was attending the Safer Pill meeting the day after Council and there was a Safer Newport governance meeting with Council’s Chief Executive also taking place to discuss issues.
§ Councillor C Evans referred to the homelessness shelter sign posted to the most vulnerable. The group which was led by the Chief Inspector and was attended by T McKim, Policy Partnership and Involvement Manager, was successful in housing the homeless as referred to in the Superintendent’s update. The Councillor hoped that the group of strategic leaders would maintain this approach and build on success of the last few months.
§ Councillor White referred to the co-operation with Gwent and South Wales Police represented at stake holder level regarding the events and subsequent incidents relating to pony traps and whether this also happened in Cardiff and Newport. The Superintendent had received intelligence on Sunday 13 September that it was a group of Travellers from Swansea that pitched up at the Duffryn Arms, although he was not sure if they were related to Peterstone and Wentloog incidents.