Inspector Rob Jenkins
As I reflect on the last month since I have taken up the Inspector Post in Newport City Centre I have been extremely impressed with the hard work displayed by my officers and police staff; showing dedication to their work whilst being determined to provide the best possible service to the public.
This has been demonstrated by countless examples of good work but most notably the arrest, charge and remand of a 39 year old man for the theft of a motor vehicle and related driving offences and theft from an unattended vehicle. Also, on 17th March a 39 year old man was charged and remanded with 2 burglaries and criminal damage of commercial premises in the City Centre. He was recalled to prison. On 23rd February a 35 year old man was arrested and charged with 10 theft offences from across the Newport area, 6 of which related to charity boxes from within business premises.
This type of criminality will not be tolerated in Newport and I find it incomprehensible that a person targets charity collections for their own gain. These crimes impact on the livelihood of those affected so well done to all involved in holding those responsible to account for their actions. I can assure the public that this type of offending behaviour is ultimately minimal.
The regeneration work in Newport City centre in recent years has been nothing short of remarkable with the development of Friars Walk, the bus station, train station, Riverfront and the Millennium Bridge; all of which have contributed towards many businesses returning to the City centre.
Also, people are now coming into the City Centre to enjoy the fantastic facilities that Newport has to offer and it is quite right that the public now have a higher expectation regarding the city centre environment and surrounding areas. Since April 2013 the number of people saying that Newport is becoming a better place to live has increased by over 40 per cent from 24.8 per cent to 65.48 per cent and the number of people saying they are proud to come from Newport has also increased from 33.20 per cent to 46.96 per cent. I am certainly proud to have grown up in Newport and will work hard to ensure the City Centre continues to improve.
Newport experiences the same issues as any other City Centre and my officers continue to work with partners to make the area as safe as possible. Unfortunately, in recent weeks a small minority of individuals have been acting anti-socially in the city centre and this has impacted on members of the public and local businesses. I have listened to residents concerns and taken measures to address this issue.
On the weekend of 3rd March 2017 additional resources were deployed to the City Centre to deal with ASB and engage with members of the public. This culminated in 21 people being dispersed from the city centre for a 48 hour period, 3 fifteen year old men being arrested for breaching this order, 2 warnings being issued for smoking Cannabis and 1 bike being seized. Thank you for all those involved in this operation and the feedback received from the public was fantastic. I will continue to use my staff to tackle the issues that are doing most harm to the community.
The city centre has become a far more inviting place for young people to gather and I have no issue with those who visit to use the bowling alley, cinema and other facilities, all of which I would have been grateful for when growing up in Newport. However, it is the irresponsible actions of a few individuals who travel into the City Centre to cause problems that will not be tolerated. I am working with the Council and other partners to ensure long term solutions can be put in place but where necessary, I will continue to use Dispersal orders and other enforcement tactics to ensure that the individuals responsible are dealt with proactively and fairly.
However, I recognise that enforcement is not always the most appropriate response so I am actively working with local youth services and businesses in the area to ensure that a programme of diversionary activities are put in place over the summer months to ensure youths are kept entertained whilst engaging with local youth provisions. Watch this space.
If anyone would like to speak with the Youth Service please feel free to do so on 01633 235238. I would encourage all parents and guardians of youths who are going into the City Centre to establish why they are doing so and to ensure they are acting responsibly. The Police cannot deal with anti-social behaviour alone and letters have already been sent out to the homes of some youths who have been identified as acting anti-socially. Please ensure you engage with your children and deal with any inappropriate behaviour before they get drawn into possible criminality although I would re-iterate again that it is a small proportion of youths who are causing these issues.
There is also a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in place for Newport City Centre that covers the below area:
The PSPO measures are as follows:
1. Refusing to stop drinking alcohol or to hand over containers of alcohol, when required to do so by an authorised officer
2. Approaching members of the public in a persistent manner with a view to persuading them to subscribe to a service or make charitable donations by direct debit, standing order or similar means
3. Begging in a manner which is aggressive or intimidating, or which harasses members of the public
4. Affixing any notice, picture, letter, sign or other mark on the surface of a highway or any tree, structure or works on or in a highway without permission of the landowner (fly-posting)
5. Being in charge of a dog that is not on a lead (of no more than 1.5 metres in length)
It is already illegal to:
• Drop litter
• Cycle in the pedestrianised parts of the city centre
• Not clear up dog mess.
Any person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with the PSPO commits an offence and could be liable, on conviction, to a fine of up to £1000.
Police and council officers will give offenders the opportunity, in the first instance, to pay a fixed penalty notice of £100, reduced to £75 for prompt payment.
I would encourage all those visiting the city centre to make themselves aware of the PSPO measures as my Police Officers & CSO's will be working with the council to monitor this in the forthcoming weeks with the goal of making Newport the best possible environment in which to work, live or visit.
I hope that you have found this blog useful and informative. I would ask anyone wanting to discuss any problems to make contact with me to raise concerns about issues in your area.
Inspector Rob Jenkins