30 minutes is allocated for questions to the Gwent Police representative.
Superintendent Mike Richards provided an update on current local policing priorities, before inviting questions from Members.
The Mayor invited the Leader to say a few words.
The Leader thanked Superintendent M Richards and his fellow officers for their partnership work around enforcement in relation to Covid Regulations, which had educated and informed people rather than penalised them. Officers had taken appropriate enforcement action however, where necessary, for those who had committed more serious and persistent breaches of the regulations.
The Leader appealed to colleagues in relation to an incident which was under investigation by the IPOC to refrain from raising queries in relation to this.
Finally, at local level, the Leader and Malpas ward colleagues met up with Paul Turner, who was a welcome addition to the policing team and was full of enthusiasm and good ideas.
Questions from Councillors:
Councillor Rahman had raised an issue with Inspector Cawley regarding lack of parking spaces around Harrow Road, Rugby Road and Bedford Road. Residents had used bins to reserve these spaces; City Services had been addressing this. It had however become physical, leading to fights and there was concern that it would escalate. Inspector Cawley suggested a community day; similar to one that took place before lockdown and Councillor Rahman asked if Superintendent Richards would provide the community van along with resources from Maindee Police Station in order to facilitate this. The Superintendent would get in touch with Inspector Cawley.
Councillor Jeavons thanked the police for their intervention regarding antisocial behaviour in the Cromwell Road area and was looking forward to seeing more police presence in that area. The Superintendent would ensure appropriate resources would be in place.
Councillor Lacey referred to a recent incident where teenagers broke into Ringland Primary School and set fire to part of the play area, these actions were caught on CCTV. This followed a similar pattern to other fires started within the Ringland area previously. Councillor Lacey therefore asked if Inspector Cawley could look into this. The Superintendent was aware of this incident and would discuss this with Inspector Cawley and get in touch with the councillor regarding identifying the suspects.
Councillor Davies referred to door to door canvassing in January and asked was this acceptable under the Covid Level 4 lockdown arrangements. The Superintendent confirmed that door-to-door political canvassing was not permitted during the current lock-down restrictions and he would get in touch with Councillor Davies regarding this complaint.
Councillor Whitehead mentioned that the field adjacent to Rougemont School was being used by scramblers. With milder weather approaching, this could occur more frequently and disturb residents as well as disrupting school lessons. Councillor Whitehead suggested boulders be put at the entrance of the field to deter this antisocial behaviour. The Superintendent had seen an increase in this kind of behaviour since last weekend. Operation Harley, was put in place last year and officers would re-commit to this in the coming months.
Councillor Holyoake congratulated the police on work carried out recently to address street workers however drug dealers and street workers had been gathering during the lockdown period. The Superintendent thanked Councillors Holyoake and Hayat for their continued support and advised that if there were groups of people, Police could use their enforcement powers. This would be reinforced by the Superintendent.
Councillor M Evans queried when charges were referred to Crown Prosecution Service they could recommend lesser charges as an example, a charge of robbery and assault could be reduced to theft which could impact on the victims, public and the police. Was there anything that could be done as a council to change this to support victims of crime and ensure offenders receive the appropriate justice. The Superintendent agreed that the police did have to contact the CPS regarding reduced criminal charges. These cases were few however the Superintendent would be happy to continue the conversation outside of the meeting and consider any support that would be offered to the police.
Councillor Al-Nuaimi congratulated Superintendent Richards on his hard work during the past year. Councillor Al-Nuaimi raised concern that recent stop and search exercises last November and December saw a raise in statistics relating to the BAME community. The Superintendent was greatly involved in the stop and search programme and would arrange to meet with the councillor as the statistic quoted appeared high by comparison to police statistics.
Further questions from Councillor Al-Nuaimi would be forwarded to Superintendent Richards in writing.