NIKITTA CASE: ‘Bridges built to assist inquiry’

South Wales Argus: KEY: Supt Dave Johnson KEY: Supt Dave Johnson

ONE of the major challenges faced by police investigating Miss Grender’s death was building bridges with the community.

Newport’s Superintendent Dave Johnson said building a rapport with the close-knit community was a key part of the investigation.

He said: “It really and truly was an horrendous crime. You are talking about a 19-year-old girl who has family living in the area who has been terribly murdered.

Emotion in the area was high.”

Supt Johnson said using neighbourhood policing officers, who already had community links, was crucial.

He said: “The local neighbourhood policing team were given responsibility for dealing with our approach on how to communicate.

The community centre on the estate opened out of hours to provide a focal point for the area.

“The local councillor, Allan Morris, was in and around the scene almost continually and he was a huge support, providing a message to allow people to get on with their job in investigating this crime.”

Officers also worked with Newport council’s community safety wardens to help keep members of the public reassured and well-informed.

Detective Chief Supt Geoff Ronayne said: “Broadmead Park is a very close-knit community.

It was crucial to our investigation that we got the support of that community and communicating with community leaders through Supt Dave Johnson was essential.

Managing expectation was also a challenge.

“We had to avoid a clamour for an early arrest and make sure that we gathered as much evidence and information and that we could make sure that any steps we took were properly informed.”

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