Inspector Martin Cawley

Your latest Blog from your local Inspector, Martin Cawley, who covers the Alway and Maindee area

Since my last blog, there has been some significant changes and a huge amount of work taking place in Newport East. In this blog, I will look to provide a snapshot of my team’s positive work in tackling criminal offences and engaging with the public, while also addressing concerns over unlawful encampments and so-called ‘boy racers’ using the SDR.

We have had some great success in investigating recent burglaries within the section. A recent Operation increased our proactive patrols and enabled us to collate intelligence for a more targeted approach. As a result six suspects have been arrested in relation to various dwelling and commercial burglaries in the area, with a number of those targeted being vulnerable victims. Investigations are ongoing. I hope this activity reassures residents that we take these offences very seriously, and provides some much needed support to victims.

We have also had some excellent results relating to vehicle crimes, most notably just last week. During proactive patrols, officers disturbed and apprehended a man suspected of breaking into a vehicle. As a result of their investigations, officers located items they believe were stolen and linked to other possible offences. Enquiries are ongoing.

Our regular activity aimed at disrupting and prosecuting those concerned in drug supply continues. The Neighbourhood Policing Team execute warrants on a regular basis, often linking in with the Organised Crime Unit. These warrants are the culmination of many hours of work, and aim to remove dangerous drugs and offenders from our streets.

We are also working hard to address concerns over anti-social behaviour. This is a blight on our communities, especially as the weather improves. Operation Harley is still ongoing, aimed at tackling anti-social use of off-road vehicles. Across the city, To date, there have been in excess of 20 seizures in Newport.

In hotspot areas, officers combat issues using a combination of partnership work and enforcement, utilising a combination of legislation, such as dispersal orders and community protection legislation. As a result, I have noted a reduction in reported incidents in the St Julian’s and Aberthaw Road areas – but there is still much to do.

Meanwhile, in an effort to make officers more accessible and visible, we have stepped up our community engagement activities in recent weeks.

My thanks go to Newport Live for providing activities to the young people from the Old Barn and Alway areas, where more than 50 young people now use their services on a regular basis. In order to assist with these schemes and offer young people an alternate venue, Alway Police Station has been opened for a series of ‘surgeries’, with access to games consoles and televisions. This scheme is in its infancy but has got off to a good start!

All of my officers now have access to improved technology, which means they are less reliant on police stations. This has allowed for the rollout of ‘Community Stations’ – premises identified as benefiting from an increased police presence. Officers are allocated to these sites as a base to complete paperwork. We hope this will improve the accessibility of police and reduce incidents in the vicinity of the locations.

Moving on, I am aware of concerns regarding unlawful encampments, and perceived inconsistencies in approach by authorities. From a police perspective, it is important to state that trespass legislation is civil in nature – not criminal. Therefore, the onus of responsibility lies with the landowner to take steps to remove anyone residing in an unlawful encampment.

The police can intervene in certain circumstances, but are bound by our duties under the Human Rights Act.  We have a responsibility to the landowner, residents of the encampment and the wider public to be impartial and maintain the peace. Our initial response must be to support all parties, with regular site visits alongside partners and needs assessments.

On occasions where we can justify the use of legislation to remove an encampment, certain criteria must be met, such as rights of the general public and safety concerns. This was evident in recent incidents in the Newport East area in Caerleon and Beechwood Park. In instances where these concerns and the community impact are not sufficiently grave, we will not intervene and any action will remain the responsibility of the landowner. I hope this provides some clarity on police involvement in incidents of this nature.

Lastly, I am aware of an increase in the reporting of incidents relating to so-called ‘boy racers’, and we are currently exploring long-term solutions with partner agencies. In the meantime, we will be endeavouring to provide a consistent police presence in the areas affected, engage with gatherings when they take place, and seek enforcement if necessary. In recent weekends, there have been a series of Operations conducted which have resulted in 169 speeding offences, three seized vehicles, and numerous driving offences identified.

We will continue to monitor this situation closely in the coming weeks and take action if needed in order to best support the community. 

I would like to end this blog by encouraging anyone who would like to discuss the issues raised to contact either myself or your local Neighbourhood Policing Team. We appreciate your ongoing support.

For daily updates, follow my teams on Twitter @gpalway@gpmaindee

You can also email me any policing issues in your community martin.cawley@gwent.pnn.police.uk

Inspector Martin Cawley