ANTI social behaviour plaguing one area of Cwmbran has dramatically reduced - and those responsible for tackling the problem have won national recognition.

Gwent Police said anti social behaviour in the Thornhill ward has fallen by a "staggering" 75 per cent.

Joint work to deal with under-age drinking, drug use and knife possession was carried out by the neighbourhood team with Torfaen council and local housing associations.

Experts drawn from a range of national bodies including the Home Office and the National Policing Improvement Agency decided they were among the top 12 in Britain and they were the only team in Wales to be recognised.

Sergeant Kevin Warren, in charge of neighbourhood policing in Thornhill, said residents had raised the problem of youths, drug dealers and gangs at a PACT (Partners and Communities Together) meeting late last year.

People told him they were afraid to go out on the estate.

Police began a programme of using intelligence to target the troublemakers in Operation Flicker.

Acceptable behaviour contracts were issued, parental control agreements signed and one boy was given an anti-social behaviour order.

Staff from the housing associations also visited homes to warn that tenancy agreements were in jeopardy unless the youths were brought under control.

They are now moving on to other areas of the town to tackle similar problems.

Landlady of The Kingfisher public house and owner of June's Fish Bar, June Powell, 52, said the area is a lot quieter.

"There is noticeable increase in police presence here and I'm aware that an anti-social behaviour order has been issued and others warned," added Mrs Powell.

Tony Akhtar, manager of Premier Stores said the situation has improved.

"People used to drink outside the pub and shop but that has been dealt with and the police seem to have the problems under control," he said.

Drop in crime after crackdown

  • Figures from Thornhill where one of the particular problems was bin fires
  • June 2008: 111 calls, 47 relating to anti-social behaviour (ASB) and two bin fires
  • July 2008: 125 calls, 53 ASB, five bin fires
  • August 2008: 149 calls, 64 ASB, five bin fires
  • September 2008: 105 calls, 52 ASB, four bin fires
  • October 2008: 150 calls, 81 ASB, 23 bin fires
  • Novermber 2008: Operation Flicker introduced
  • 105 calls, 48 ASB, eight bin fires
  • December 2008: dispersal order introduced
  • 110 calls, 44 ASB, one bin fire
  • January 2009: 63 calls, 24 ASB, two bin fires
  • February 2009: 56 calls, 22 ASB, no bin fires