Inspector Phil O'Connell

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

A number of local issues have grabbed the headlines in Gwent over the past month and none have produced the shocking images like the forest fires in Cwmcarn and Twmbarlwm.

The local Neighbourhood Teams work with the Fire Service and education all year round to teach youths about the dangers of fire setting, yet we still have the dramatic images that have dominated the local press.

If you follow us on our local Twitter pages @gpcwmbran and @gppontypool you will see the regular patrols that the Community Support Officers are conducting, both with the Fire Service and on their push bikes.  The image that really shocked me was from the British in Pontypool - the size and ferocity of the fire was clearly very dangerous.  If you are concerned about people in your community who may be responsible for these crimes, then please let us know.  Ourselves and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service would much rather invest time in speaking to individuals before the fires are set than having to deal with the dangerous aftermath.

The proactive work in Torfaen has not slowed in the last month despite some challenging times for us due to increased demand.  Officers in Torfaen have carried out over 20 warrants in the last two months.  This has  been for a variety of reasons ranging from the supply of class A drugs to recovering assets which have been purchased by the proceeds of crime.  This continued effort to proactively target and pursue these types of offenders echoes my belief that keeping the pressure on criminals will make them think twice about operating in Torfaen.

We have also continued to work with our partner agencies, such as Trading Standards, in targeting offenders who may see the benefit of trying to launder illegal assets through legitimate businesses.  This supports the ethos that targeting offenders is more than simply a policing issue.  It involves the community and all of the other agencies helping to build an accurate picture of what is going on and responding appropriately.  Please don’t forget that you can report information anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111.

The Neighbourhood Teams have been out in fine form supporting local events and helping to build the community spirit that some feel is slipping away.  An example of this was the well-attended New Inn Community Event held at the fire station.  It was great to see so many of the community out and enjoying themselves.  Also the recent event that was held in Cwmbran’s CCYP youth club was great to see.  We understand that youths hanging around can be intimidating to some and also youths frequently just want “somewhere to go”.  The CCYP cinema night was an example of us working in conjunction with local youth services in order to divert people into a well-run and positive event.  On a similar theme, I had the privilege to attend Blaenavon’s ‘Redeeming Our Community’ action group meeting 2 weeks ago.  The group are focussed on making Blaenavon a better place and putting the community ethos back into the area.  They are concentrating on a number of issues, one being setting up a community vehicle which can help transport the residents of Blaenavon to important appointments or meetings.  If you are a Blaenavon resident or think you can help, please pay Sue a visit at the Bethlehem Chapel in Blaenavon.

The start of July, which seems like so long ago now, saw me planning the visit from HRH Princess Anne who came to see our virtual reality training suite in Cwmbran.  This facility allows officers to deal with a number of different scenarios all based around domestic violence incidents.  This facility really helps officers hone their decision making to be able to safeguard some of our most vulnerable people. 

Recent feedback was received by a number of Torfaen officers regarding the excellent work produced for domestic violence incidents they had dealt with.  I don’t think this is a coincidence at all and simply demonstrates the commitment from us to provide a quality service, getting it right, first time, every time.

Lastly I met with the local Borough Councillors this month.  This is part of my commitment to listening to the councillors who represent the communities who elected them.  There are a number of issues that my Neighbourhood Team have taken on as a result of these conversations, but on the whole the message was very positive.  I think this link between the councillors and police is important and provides the community with a  trusted point of contact to bring matters to our door so it can receive the attention it deserves.  In short, while I have been here, I feel that our strong community relationships have gone from strength to strength and are only set to continue.

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