COMMUNICATING with the public is vital where tackling crime is concerned.
It’s their feedback at the end of the day that helps me devise plans for keeping our communities safe.
One of the things I hear most often from people when I’m out and about is that they want to see more officers on the beat.
However, providing a visible presence amid ongoing cuts to the police budget is one of the biggest challenges we face and we are in a position where we have to achieve more with the resources we currently have.
This is why I want officers to spend less time in police stations and more time out on the beat in the communities they serve.
And this is also why I recently approved plans to redeploy 15 police officers and five police sergeants, currently working in custody units, back out on the beat in the community.
The aim is to maximise the visibility, availability and responsiveness of quality operational police officers to the public of Gwent by removing fully warranted police constables from custody units.
We also have to be more innovative in our approach to tackling crime and ensure our officers have access to the latest technology in support of their demanding roles.
That is why I was delighted when Gwent Police, in collaboration with South Wales Police, were recently awarded over £837,000 from the Home Office to create the UK’s first ever collaborative police mobile data platform and ‘app’.
This will enable frontline officers to transmit, share and access information in remote and challenging terrains without the need to return to stations, which, in turn, means they will be spending more time out on patrol and less time behind desks.
And talking about police desks, I have been working effectively in partnership with local authorities and organisations to ensure that Gwent Police maintains a strong presence in the heart of the communities it serves.
I recently opened a brand new police customer service desk at Caerphilly Library as part of a partnership forged with Caerphilly County Borough Council and a new police office at the social enterprise development in Trevethin. This was a result of a strong partnership with Bron Afon Community Housing, Torfaen County Borough Council and the Welsh Government to name just a few.
These additional facilities are important where reassuring and engaging with the public is concerned, and they complement the priorities outlined in my Police and Crime Plan, specifically with regards to delivering the best quality of service available for the people of Gwent.
At a time when budgets being squeezed for both the police and local authorities, partnerships such as this, which improve local services, are essential.