Inspector's blog: Inspector Lysha Thompson, Caerphilly north
Main article content
In my last blog I shared some news with you about the great work our officers and partners have been doing in Rhymney through our Safer Streets Project.
Since then, we've pushed forward with the project (in fact, we're holding a drop-in session in Rhymney tomorrow afternoon) and are raising awareness around tackling neighbourhood crimes like burglary. We have also continued with our efforts to address anti-social behaviour (ASB) in Bargoed.
While I'm pleased to say reports of ASB remain low, we did see an increase in calls of disorder over the festive period - leading us to act quickly to engage and enforce where necessary.
The isolated incidents we saw in the town centre through January and February were having an adverse impact on residents, retailers and visitors to the town – which is completely unacceptable and was not, and will not, be tolerated.
Your neighbourhood policing team worked closely with partners at Caerphilly County Borough Council, Youth Services and people working in affected stores to identify measures that would help tackle disorder, protect communities and identify those responsible. I'm encouraged to report that, since then, we've received 14 fewer reports of ASB this month when compared to February.
We've been committed to addressing the issue at its core by identifying persistent offenders.
Since the beginning of the year, we've processed 66 anti-social behaviour referrals, resulting in:
• 30 advisory letters sent to parents and guardians
• 13 acceptable behaviour contracts signed, or in the process of being signed
• one anti-social behaviour injunction issued, and a second application progressing to court in April.
These processes give us valuable opportunities to intervene and speak to offenders about how their behaviour negatively impacts their community – in the hope of addressing persistent acts of disorder and preventing them from entering the criminal justice system.
Policing is not just about enforcement: engagement is hugely important and I'm happy to see a number of young people subject to these referrals have responded really positively and have already made great improvements with their behaviour.
I would like to stress here that it was a minority of people causing damage and ASB in the town. Through my patrols and speaking with officers and people in the town, we know the majority of young people in the areas are polite, respectful and just looking for somewhere to go, some positive activities to be involved in.
So, while we'll continue to take robust action to tackle poor behaviour and criminality, we're also exploring several positive engagement activities for young people across Caerphilly.
Working with colleagues and partners, we'll be hosting a number of activities for young people over Easter half-term.
• They'll get to try out virtual reality headsets in our driving simulation activities. Not just great fun – we’ll be teaching you about road safety and the Fatal Five, the leading causes of death and serious injury on our roads.
• Gaming activities.
• Street golf, football, rugby and other fitness-related sessions.
• Educational event, on 11 April, with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service on the dangers of fire setting.
Leading up to these, we've held some taster sessions with a local sports club and Positive Futures at Morrisons in Bargoed and will be running additional events throughout spring and summer.
Speaking of Morrisons, I've been in regular contact with management at the store. We will, along with partners at the Council, work together to ensure Bargoed remains a safe place to live and visit.
We'll be holding regular police surgeries at the store in the coming weeks, so if you have any concerns, please do come and speak to us.
The next surgeries will be held on:
• Tuesday 12 April, between 1:30pm - 2pm
• Tuesday 19 April, between 1:30pm - 2pm
• Tuesday 10 May, between 1:30pm - 2pm.
While we still have challenges, I'm confident we can start building on the good relationships we already have with young people in the area, which will have a positive impact in the long-term for both them and our wider communities.
These are just a few examples of the many pieces of work your neighbourhood policing team's been focusing on in recent months; I look forward to sharing more news in my next blog.