As crime continues to fall in Newport, the city’s new Superintendent Mark Warrender insists more can still be done to make it a safer place.

CRIME prevention and reduction, along with gaining greater trust from the public are among the priorities for Newport’s new superintendent, Mark Warrender.

Almost two decades after he first joined Gwent Police he finds himself back in the city where he started, having held every rank apart from chief inspector in his 17-year career.

During that time he has worked as a neighbourhood inspector in Pill, where he led Operation Catapult to reduce drug-related and gang crimes following the high-profile murder of father of three Lemy Bullock.

Later he took up the role of superintendent in Blaenau Gwent before moving on to head up the force’s professional standards team, investigating complaints against the force two years ago.

He is “delighted” to be back in the city, and cites cutting incidents of anti-social behaviour, shoplifting, thefts, and drug offences among his key targets for the next 12 months, building on the good work of his predecessor, Superindendent Dave Johnson.

Between 2010 and 2011 the number of incidents in Newport fell by 11 per cent, and again by 14 per cent last year – resulting in 3,809 fewer victims over the past two years. This included a 30 per cent drop in anti-social behaviour in the city, resulting in 3,000 fewer incidents.

But not a man to rest on his laurels, Supt Warrender is determined more can be done to improve the lives of residents.

He said: “I just want to build on the success that’s happened in the city in the past few years. I want the public to feel confident to tell us things and to trust us to deliver the best possible service.”

And it is the experience he gained in his previous role dealing with police complaints that he hopes will prove most successful in continuing to drive down crime.

He believes building a greater trust between police and the public is key to encouraging more people to report crime so officers can not only respond to it but also prevent it.

He said: “I want my staff to give the best quality of service to members of the public. My officers deal with tens of thousands of crimes, you get a low number of complaints – just over 300 a year – however, those complaints affect public confidence. Those 300 people have had a poor level of service.

I want to make sure in Newport, as I’m sure my colleagues elsewhere do, that we deliver absolute quality service to victims of crime.” As well as improvements in public perception, he will also continue to target prolific offenders. This involves tracking their progress and working with support agencies who help them when they are released from prison in a bid to reduce the chances of them re-offending.

Supt Warrender said: “We will make it our business to stop them committing further crimes before they get into that level of ‘spree’ criminality.”

An essential part of this is tackling the reasons why people commit crime, which in a lot of cases is drugs, Supt Warrender said.

Last year the force made 545 arrests for drug-related offences in Newport, took £1.2 million worth of drugs off the street and seized £45,000 cash from dealers.

City officers are committed to improving this this year, while also working closely with secondary schools in a bid to deter youngsters from getting involved in crime.

South Wales Argus: CRIME FILE: More can be done to cut crime - top Newport cop