Inspector Phil O'Connell

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

January has already proved to be a busy time for Torfaen officers. Only one month in to the year, officers have been called upon to police protests, assist health services in gaining access to a barricaded premises as well as dealing with our core business.

Members of the neighbourhood policing team gave a presentation to our councillors about organised criminality and county lines earlier in the month. I am pleased to see that the message has slowly started to get out into the community with one of the councillors sharing the information with the New Inn neighbourhood watch, highlighting the community issues that organised criminality presents. By informing communities to these risks we look to make them resilient to the impact of organised criminality and make Torfaen a difficult place for criminals to operate.

Torfaen neighbourhood policing team continue to lead the way in their approach to problem orientated policing and a special thanks goes out for the recent training day, co-ordinated by Police Sergeant Mike Pheasant, providing our officers with the skills needed to approach problems differently.

Response officers have been equally as busy and assistance from our specialist Area Support Unit has resulted in a number of arrests of people on suspicion of acquisitive thefts and burglaries in Cwmbran and Pontypool. These offences are still being investigated as we speak and we’ll update you on our progress.

In an earlier blog, I talked about Torfaen’s joint partnership approach to rough sleepers in the Torfaen borough. As the weather turns it is a hard time of year for rough sleepers. Torfaen Councils Homelessness team, Community safety team, Police along with third Sector agencies such as Cornerstone have a robust plan in place to assist people during this period. If you would like to assist during this period of time, please check the Cornerstone or Torfaen Councils website of how you can help.

Social media forms a part of our daily lives now. My team frequently use Twitter and Facebook to make appeals and promote good work going on in the borough. We have a responsibility to share accurate information as the panic that could be caused by sharing inaccurate information could have big consequences. Torfaen residents are no different and share a social responsibility to post accurate information. The panic or consternation that can be caused from incorrect information can drive the fear of crime or even worse promote people taking matters into their own hands. Social media platforms have ways to remove posts and as a community, I ask you to help monitor and promote the responsible use of these platforms by reporting inappropriate articles to be removed by the social media provider.

A number of residents, shop owners and visitors to Cwmbran town centre have raised concerns about anti-social behaviour in small sections of the town. We are working with a number of agencies and local councillors to address this and the month of February will see us highlighting our main protagonists on the town centre and showing them how their activity impacts on people, leading to an unpleasant atmosphere. This will involve the parents and guardians of those involved to ensure that everyone is playing their part to promote the positive space that the shopping centre provides. If your young family members are attending Cwmbran Town Centre to socialise, then please make sure they are acting responsibly as some find the presence of large groups intimidating.

We have seen snow and ice recently and whilst the weather is brighter,  it would be foolish not to remind you all to be careful on the roads. Ice patches can be difficult to see so reducing your speed and allowing extra time will be the best plan for the cold winter months. If you are in the habit of leaving your car to de-ice in the morning make sure you stay with it. We haven’t had any thefts of vehicles that follow this pattern but don’t give opportunists the chance. 

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