Inspector Phil O'Connell

Your latest Blog from your local Inspector, Phil O'Connell, who covers the Cwmbran and Pontypool area.

There has been some excellent work in Torfaen again since I last updated you.

Officers have continued to work tirelessly in the effort to combat organised crime within Torfaen.  I appreciate that many of you would have seen recent media reports around organised criminality and ‘County Lines’.  Officers in Torfaen successfully disrupted people suspected of dealing illegal drugs in our community by carrying out two simultaneous raids.  Two people were arrested on suspicion of offences relating to the supply of controlled drugs and have been released pending further enquiries. 

In our continued effort to police this I am pleased to announce that I have set up a team to disrupt this even further all under the supervision of a talented Police Detective.

If you have any information you wish to share with us about crime in your area  - no matter how small the detail, please contact 101 or crime stoppers.  With your help we can make Torfaen a difficult place for criminals to operate.

We appreciate that preventing people being drawn to this level of criminality is more than just a police issue and we are starting a project, looking at engaging with our young people with partner agencies like the Youth Service and Torfaen County Borough Council to teach youths and young adults about the dangers of being drawn into these criminal organisations.  This will be a long road to change perceptions and to prevent the allure of the trappings of entering these criminal groups but it is important that we look at the future and not just concentrate on the here and now.

There has been some really great work going on behind the scenes regarding our rough sleepers in and around Torfaen.  You may have seen people sleeping rough in Torfaen when walking through Cwmbran town or Pontypool Park.  This is a really sensitive issue for us as Police and we are working with our partners to re-home these individuals to get them the support that they need.  We have really good working relationships with council and community safety workers and the Torfaen Multi Agency Hub is testimony to our commitment to work collaboratively instead of looking at everything in isolation.  Without this ability and positive working space I am unsure if the joined up approach to tackling issues would be as smooth as they currently are.

The role of police officer is varied and dealing with missing people is one of our core duties.  Safeguarding the vulnerable is always a priority for us but the demand this puts on us as a section is startling.  Would you believe it that the top 5 individuals have been missing almost 250 times this year in Torfaen?  The Children’s Missing Person Hub is an excellent resource and has been helping hugely with one or two of our repeat missing children but these competing demands, of which there are many, often mean that we will follow up some calls as diarised appointments or you may be dealt with by highly trained officers at first point of contact.  This is the way that as an organisation and a section we are evolving to meet our priorities.

I highlighted when I first arrived what I felt was important, one of these priorities was looking after the vulnerable and using our Body-Cameras to record evidence wherever possible.  This month saw the fruits of our labour with one male being imprisoned for an assault on his partner.  Due to the evidence secured and the persistence of those officers involved a conviction was secured at court.  This is an example of the excellent work that is ongoing every day.

And I would like to leave you on a personal note and prove that all work and no play really isn’t healthy!  Torfaen officers recently held a charity event at Risca Workingmens club where there was food, a live band and of course a few drinks to ensure everyone had a good time.  The event raised over £2000 in total for a young woman who is very poorly at the moment.  I pass my thanks to PCs Kim Meyrick, Dai Brice and DC Sean Meyrick for making it a great event.

For daily updates, follow my teams on Twitter @gpcwmbran @gppontypool

You can also email me any policing issues in your community philip.O'[email protected]

Inspector Phil O'Connell