Inspector Phil O'Connell
Your latest Blog from your local Inspector, Phil O'Connell, who covers the Cwmbran and Pontypool area.
The Christmas period is over and we are now into 2019. December saw the expected increase of calls and demand and additional officers worked at key times to ensure we were able to meet this demand.
As well as this traditional demand, we continue to answer calls from the public regarding concern for peoples welfare and general wellbeing. As I eluded to in my previous blog, the Christmas period can be a desperately lonely time for some and the demand on us and the health service has been affected as a result. Torfaen officers had to deal with a number of traumatic incidents over the Christmas period, ranging from a man being hit by a heavy goods vehicle to a young man being found deceased in his flat. We have specialist officers that provide support to the friends and family of the victims in these cases however support is provided and greatly needed for those officers who are dealing with these types of traumatic incidents.
Officers are now assessed after a traumatic incident to see to what extent they have been affected and whether this will permeate in the future. It is so important that we care for our staff as they are the ones who deliver a quality service and protect and reassure you all on a daily basis.
This month, Torfaen officers have all been equipped with personal issue body worn cameras. This is a big investment by the organisation but in my opinion an essential one. The evidence that is obtained on these cameras on first interaction at an incident often forms the basis of a prosecution and ensures that people are protected as a result. There is an expectation that these cameras are used at all incidents involving domestic violence, stop search powers and any other time at the officers discretion. A number of on-going investigations have benefitted from the use of the cameras this month and I have no doubt that the evidence gained will form part of the prosecution case when they are heard in court.
A future roll out of personal issue laptops for Torfaen officers is also planned in the coming months. This will allow officers to complete essential updates at the scene of incidents instead of double adding information at the scene and then having to do it again when they return to the station. This ‘invest to save’ approach will also allow officers to spend more time out in the community instead of having to return to the stations to complete these updates so they will be more visible as a result.
A special thanks to all of you who assisted with our social media appeals over the festive period. Sharing information about wanted and missing people means we can reach a large audience in a short space of time. One particular success was the appeal on the whereabouts of Kyle Roberts who was recalled to prison. Officers were able to follow up on the information provided to our new social media desk and track the man down to Pontypool Park. A co-ordinated approach by officers meant that the male was arrested and taken back to prison. Your positive contribution, in this and similar appeals, really allows us to focus our officers where they will make the most difference.
For those of you who missed the launch of our new social media desk, there is now the ability to report incidents via social media. Some early feedback from one of our borough councillors was that within 2 minutes of reporting an incident via social media they had received an update as to what response was being provided and which officer would be dealing. This is a really positive step for us and will assist communities to communicate in a way that represents how they prefer to communicate in their daily lives.
Despite January and February being seen by some as those wonderfully quiet months after the hectic festive period, officers from Pontypool Neighbourhood Team will be delivering an educational input to our borough councillors on organised crime groups and serious and organised crime. This is with a view to further publicise the work we are doing in Torfaen but to also encourage any Torfaen resident or visitor to share information on criminals who are benefitting from their illegal activities. Communities help defeat this type of offending by making a stand not to tolerate it in their area, report it to us and work with us to make it an impossible place for these criminals to operate. Please speak to your local borough councillors at any one of their surgeries if you are interested in finding out more on the subject and how you can play your part.
Similarly, we will be delivering this and inputs on keeping children safe to all of our hoteliers and taxi firms. We did try and do this before the end of 2018 but with this being a busy time for these companies, we had to postpone. We will not let this deter us however and will continue to speak to local companies in early 2019 with a view of working with them to prevent our vulnerable sections of communities being targeted.
Lastly, to finish on a positive note, members of the Torfaen Wellbeing forum organised a family social event just before Christmas. This was all voluntary and in the officers spare time. It was attended by officers and their families with all of the money raised going towards a local charity. A special thanks for Father Christmas for taking time out of his busy schedule to put some big smiles on the faces of our kids.
Thanks for all of your help and support during 2018 and here’s to continuing to work together to deter crime and anti-social behaviour in 2019. By us all working together, communities will be better equipped to take ownership and have the pride in their areas in order to address the issues they feel are most important to them.