Agenda item

Police Issues

30 minutes is allocated for questions to the Gwent Police representative.


The Presiding Member welcomed Chief Inspector John Davies, who provided council members with an update on police issues within East, West and Central Newport.


The Presiding Member then invited the Leader to put questions to Chief Insp Davies. 


The Leader mentioned that councillors from the West of Newport commented that there appeared to be more regular engagement with councillors and Police in Newport East.  The Leader asked if this could be addressed in order to establish regular engagement with councillors in the West of Newport.  The Chief Inspector would look into this request for the Leader and also advised that the Police were looking into providing context to issues occurring in all wards to all members on what was going on within all areas of Newport by way of a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter.


The Leader also referred to the introduction of 20mph zones within Newport and the concerns around enforcement plans and asked if it would be possible for the Police to meet with Councillors to provide an information session, which could in turn be fed-back to constituents who regularly contact their ward members regarding this issue.  The Chief Insp would look into this for the Leader.


Finally, it was wonderful to see events within Newport up and running after two years, including the Pill Carnival, the Big Splash and Newport’s Inaugural Pride Event.  The Leader therefore wanted to congratulate the Chief Inspector and colleagues on their positive policing of all these events within the community, they had really engaged with the public and the Leader wanted this to be fed back to Chief Inspector Davies’ colleagues.  The Chief Inspector thanked the Leader for her kind comments and would feedback to his colleagues.


Questions to the Police raised by Councillors:


§  Councillor Fouweather referred to the consultation process for 20mph where no one from Gwent Police commented.  This had a massive implication for Police and resources and many people were not staying to the speed limit.  Could the Chief Inspector therefore find out why there were no comments from Gwent Police on the consultation and feedback to the Council. The Chief Insp would look into this and also advised that the majority of the enforcement was carried out by ‘Go Safe’ Wales.


§  Councillor A Morris had noticed an increase of e-bicycles within Lliswerry and the city, who were also going faster than 20mph.  These bicycles were purchase without the need of a licence, safety equipment, no knowledge of the Highway Code or insurance.  There had been several near misses and the possibility of a fatality was high.  What was the national position on this?  The Chief Insp advised that the national position around e-bicycles was about how the Police dealt with them tactically. There were a number of different options that the Police were looking into but felt it inappropriate to address in a public forum at this point but close to a tactical outcome for seizing them.  Part of the operation included targeting retailers, the majority of these e-bicycles were being manufactured abroad and not in the UK, therefore importing of these bicycles were being looked into. As the Police were close to addressing this, they would shortly see results on an outcome.


§  Councillor Cleverly also mentioned the 20mph zones and how it was monitored, in particular with e-bicycles and scooters. Again, the Chief Insp also referred to his previous answer and was happy to make contact with Councillor Cleverly to understand the issues surrounding what was happening in Bettws.


§  Councillor Hourahine thanked police for their swift handling of the hoax ‘gun incident’ earlier that day that occurred at St Julian’s school, which resulted in the school closure.  As this was an ongoing issue the Chief Inspector was confident that they would get to the facts of what happened in the coming days.


§  Councillor Deborah Harvey mentioned that as the Ward Member for Alway, she had regular meetings with Inspector Cawley, praising him for his hard work and dedication within the community over the years and asked if her thanks could be passed on to him.


§  Councillor Evans asked if the Police could elaborate on what police and partners including the Council, were doing to address the antisocial behaviour and intimidating beggars within the City Centre.  The Chief Inspector advised that the Police was already heavily engaged with the local authority and third sector partners and adopted a problem orientated policing approach and extended an invite for Councillors that were interested to come along to a meeting to understand what it was all about. This was a complex issue which involved understanding the problem rather than approaching it like a ‘bull at a gate’ and was more than content that have the support of partners to address this issue.


§  Councillor Corten understood the pressures that police were under and referred to Operation Bang and asked if there was anything that the Ringland ward councillors could to do to help the policing teams within their area.  The Chief Inspect thanked councillor Corten for her kind offer and was more than happy to include Ringland ward councillors in these meetings and would notify Inspector Cawley who was running the operation to involve them in the partnership work.


§  Councillor Whitehead had heard that Newport was second biggest city in UK for drug problems and asked was this the case? The Chief Inspector advised Councillor Whitehead that this was not a statistic that he had heard.


§  Councillor Drewett mentioned the large crowds that gathered on Ridgeway at Bonfire night last year and asked if this would be policed effectively.  The Chief Inspector advised that a risk assessment to see which area was the biggest risk during that period would be carried out and would therefore let Councillor Drewett know if Ridgeway was the high-risk category.


§  Cllr Mogford also referred to the 20mph speed limits and asked what resources the police had in place.  The Chief Inspector advised that there was a dedicated road policing unit that dealt with the ‘fatal five, which included speeding and ‘Go Safe Wales.  Those resources were targeted to those particular areas to address speed enforcement.


§  Councillor Batrouni mentioned the common occurrence in Monmouthshire of ‘cuckooing’ where criminal gangs targeted vulnerable adults, taking over their homes and exploit them and their homes for criminal activity and asked was this a particular problem in Newport? The Chief Inspector advised that in terms of cuckooing, there was a robust approach in place specifically around areas where vulnerable people lived in certain wards.  Secondly Councillor Batrouni asked what was the Police’s relationship with Newport City Homes (NCH); particularly relating to the previous issue as well as generally.  The Chief Inspector mentioned that the relationship with NCH was also very good, giving an example of issues in any given area with people being housed.  The Police along with NCH would look into housing policies to avoid increasing saturation to avoid people with certain issues living in certain areas. NCH were also involved with the Police’s hate crime partnership and played a very big part in Anti-Social Behavioural management.


Councillor Saeed Adan asked was there a targeted response time to answer 101and other non-emergency calls.  The Chief Insp replied that there were targeted times around 999 and 101 calls.  101 calls were considerably longer, and users of the number could wait longer using this service.  The Police were not happy with performance at the moment.  The weather over the summer had impacted on this and demand for police service was higher than usual. There was a lot of work carried out ensuring people were able to report non-emergencies without using telephone such as social media angles, email and the website.  It was nicer to speak to a person but unfortunately, that was where police were at the moment.