Inspector Phil O'Connell
Your latest Blog from your local Inspector, Phil O'Connell, who covers the Cwmbran and Pontypool area.
I have been in post now for over 12 months so I think it is an opportune moment to take a look back at the last year and see how far we have come.
In my first blog as an Inspector, I talked about a spike in crime in Greenmeadow, gave a commitment to protect and reassure the most vulnerable members of Torfaen’s community and made mention of two new sergeants who had landed as part of the Torfaen policing team. Well, looking back now, 12 months is a long time in policing and multiple changes have taken place to the supervisory team and some real positive steps have happened in making Torfaen a safer place.
During the month of April 2019, our proactive work has continued with another man arrested on suspicion of dealing Class A drugs within Torfaen and he has now been charged. We are all too aware of the dangers of controlled drugs with some horrendous news reported elsewhere in Gwent which really brings home the reality of the situation. This is just a snapshot of what we are doing day in and day out to protect our communities. If you suspect anyone of dealing drugs or other criminality in Torfaen please report this by 101, our social media desk or anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111.
I was pleased to be invited to a public meeting held in Blaenavon Resource Centre. Myself and the Blaenavon Neighbourhood Policing Team were able to meet with the local councillors and concerned residents about issues that are affecting their community. I found the meeting really positive and an opportunity to showcase all of the good work that we are doing in the area whilst taking on board the concerns of the community. I find it alarming that some local social media pages can often catastrophise incidents and my team were able to allay these fears by giving the facts surrounding incidents instead of the rumour and speculation.
You can meet the teams at regular local surgeries if you have any similar concerns. A real positive for me from the meeting was the community spirit displayed by a number of proactive residents along with Councillor Allan and Janet Jones who are looking to set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. These local initiatives really help build community spirit and assist us in our effort to reduce crime and disorder and apprehend those who break the law.
Torfaen officers were called to assist the Metropolitan Police during April. The difficulties the Met Police had to deal with as a result of Extinction Rebellion were clear for all to see. A number of Torfaen officers were deployed to London to help the situation there and provide some friendly Welsh policing to what was a highly charged situation. The skills and abilities of officers within Gwent is really something quite special and there is a large proportion of these officers in Torfaen, working to help people day in, day out.
These skills were put to good use locally when officers were called to an incident involving a man who had barricaded himself within his house and then took to the roof and began to throw roof tiles at officers. Our approach to this incident was coordinated using our public order tactics in order to arrest the man who was later charged and appeared in court.
Extra resources have been put on over our bank holiday weekends to prevent unlicensed music events or Raves as they are more commonly known. We recognise the disruption these have caused in the past and are working to disrupt them before they are able to get a foothold at any given location. I ask the community to remain vigilant to these raves being established. A number of vehicles in an unusual location and the obvious signs of speakers and generators are the tell-tale signs. Please report these if you see them happening. It is a lot easier for us to disrupt a rave instead of trying to shut one down that is in full swing.
Lastly I want to thank officers for the excellent work in saving a young woman’s life. Officers responded to a call of a vehicle overturned on the Mountain Road between Cwmbran and Pontypool. On their arrival a young woman was stuck in the vehicle and clearly in need of urgent medical attention. Officers put themselves in a dangerous position in order to remove the female from the car and then started the life-saving process of CPR. The co-ordinated approach of a number of officers and all blue light services saw the female make a full recovery within 24hrs. Whilst we live in a society where lambasting people by social media has become an accepted social norm, it was great to see the young woman take to social media to thank the blue light services and the officers who helped save her life. Myself and the team are grateful for this. Policing can be a difficult profession on times but these positive messages help us all realise the privileged position we hold in putting on our uniform and helping Torfaen residents when they need us most.