MAKING Newport city centre a safe place for everyone to enjoy at all hours is a top priority for a Gwent Police inspector.

Newport Central Inspector Nigel Lewis has been tasked since November 2018 with overseeing the city centre.

And since then, there has been a fall in the number of reports of anti-social behaviour – which includes aggressive begging – but crime during the night-time remains at a “level playing field”, according to the inspector.

Just last month a petition was launched, calling for major “problems” – including anti-social behaviour - blighting the city centre to be solved.

But Mr Lewis warned that his officers can only respond to incidents if people report them to the force - and encouraged more people to report incidents.

"My officers are out there patrolling and if you have any concerns then please report it to us,” he said.

"If it is not reported then we cannot act.

"We regularly operate with businesses and residents to get intelligence on crime.

"My aim, since I came here, is to make Newport city centre a safe place to come and visit at all hours. This is one of my chief aims and am confident we can do that.”


He added: "If it is not reported then nothing will happen. And if what is reported is not police-related I will direct it to the correct agency.”

Anti-social behaviour, aggressive begging and homelessness are three big priorities for the inspector.

He revealed that Gwent Police have initiatives to help counter them.

"We have increased officers in the city centre by five and visibility is now better,” he said.

“Seeing officers on foot is far more common now.

"Working in partnerships with Newport City Council, charities for the homeless and others is also very important.

"In relation to reporting anti-social behaviour, obviously our aim is to deal with those committing the offences, whether it is through prosecution or via any out-of-court methods that we have. But these involve multi-agency approaches.

"Dealing with homelessness is best when working with partners and charities on how best to place these people and not criminalise them unnecessarily. People who are homeless need support.

"If there is a serious crime then the criminal justice system will have to deal with the suspect.”

In a desperate attempt to tackle homelessness, this year charity Amazing Grace Spaces unveiled pods to provide temporary accommodation to rough sleepers.

The inspector praised the project, saying: "It is an innovative project.

"The pods have taken people out of the tents which can only be a good thing.

"But it is a pilot scheme and still very new."

You can report anti-social behaviour by calling 101.