Inspector Phil O'Connell
Your latest Blog from your local Inspector, Phil O'Connell, who covers the Cwmbran and Pontypool area.
I outlined in an earlier blog that making Torfaen a difficult place for organised criminals to operate was one of my key objectives. I am delighted to say our work has continued.
September saw the use of our Area Support Unit colleagues, Neighbourhood Enforcement Team, Neighbourhood Policing Team, Response officers and Criminal Investigation Department to stop a number of people who were suspected of dealing Class A drugs in Torfaen.
The work generated by this night of targeted action will take a considerable period of time to collate, where officers will need to catalogue evidence, secure mobile phone records and meticulously log items located from the searches of the home addresses and vehicles, to be able to present the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service and secure a conviction at court.
The different teams that were involved shows how resource intensive this type of policing can be, but the harm associated with organised criminality is a growing concern.
This proactivity that took place earlier in the month shows no let-up and only today I have signed a further 3 warrants to be sworn out by officers at the Magistrates' Court. This is for a variety of offences from drug supply to handling stolen goods. If you know of any information which can assist us in making your community safer, please share it by ringing 101 or reporting the information anonymously to Crimestoppers.
Another Royal Visit this month meant working closely with our Emergency Planning Team and private land owners in the county to ensure that Princess Anne was able to visit the Children’s Missing Person Hub. Some last minute changes regarding the landing of the royal helicopter meant that officers were forced into making some quick time decisions in order to prevent disruption to the everyday flow of traffic, whilst also ensuring the safety of our royal visitor. The Police Cadets and Special Constabulary were on hand to ensure that the Princess Royal was able to see the benefits of our bespoke missing person’s team and how they safeguard our vulnerable children and prevent them from being exposed to further harm. The letter of appreciation from the Princess following her visit clearly recognised the professionalism of all those involved.
To ensure that we are prepared for every eventuality in Gwent, I was invited to take part in a training exercise to test our response to a chemical incident. The exercise centred around a man who had attended a local doctor's surgery having been poisoned by an unknown chemical agent. As the exercise played out and more information was fed in along the way, it was vital that myself and colleagues from Health, Fire and Rescue and the Local Authority worked together to prevent further risk to life and to ensure that the community was restored to normal as quickly and as safely as possible.
Whilst this was a training exercise, it was based on the actual events in a different force area. Being prepared for every eventuality is key to your safety and this type of event highlights the great working links that all the emergency services and public sector departments have here in Gwent.
A community Fun Day that was planned by our Cwmbran Neighbourhood Policing team showcased everything that was good in Torfaen for our youngsters to get involved in. A special thanks goes out to Cwmbran Stadium for finding us a last minute venue due to the horrendous weather conditions.
Whilst the day was light hearted, our key message was to provide children with access to positive and well run activities to help prevent anti-social behaviour and possible criminality. There were too many youth groups involved for me to mention but some excellent displays by a local dance troupe and also by the Sea and Air Cadets really highlighted what is out there. We continue to work with youth engagement groups such as Positive Futures and also help groups to utilise the Police and Crime Commissioner's fund to great effect in order to stop youths going down the wrong path at a young age.