I want to start this blog by saying a heartfelt thank you to those members of the public that were affected by the evacuation of Friars Walk, the surrounding streets and George Street Bridge on 25th May 2017. The calm way in which individuals left the area and assisted my officers was really appreciated; especially those that provided water and other refreshments to staff that had been stood in the sun for several hours without a break.
Thank you to all the officers and CSOs who came to assist from across the force. Everyone involved worked tirelessly with our partners, including South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, Military Bomb Disposal, Newport City Council and Newport Transport to ensure that the incident was resolved quickly without anyone being put at risk of harm. I would like to reassure the public that neither incident was terror related but it does highlight the need for continued vigilance within our community. I would urge the public to report any suspicious activity on 0800 789 321 or by dialling 999.
Since my last blog, the Neighbourhood Policing Team has continued to work to reduce anti-social behaviour in the City Centre and we recognise that ASB can take many forms. As a result of concerns raised by the community, on 19th and 20th May my officers undertook an operation to deal with anti-social cycling in the City Centre. This culminated in 66 bikes being stopped, riders being educated regarding the legislation in this area, one man was arrested for a no bail warrant and alcohol and tobacco was seized from individuals. The names and addresses of all those stopped were taken to assist with evidence gathering in the event of any further reports of this nature.
The pedestrian area of the City Centre, as identified by the zone previously controlled by bollards, is a prohibited area for cycling and vehicles between the hours of 11am - 5pm daily. The signage for this is the red circle with nothing in the centre, this means any vehicle. The signs are correct at the start of each pedestrian area and the offence is enforceable by fixed penalty. I welcome responsible cyclists into the City Centre but my officers will deal with anyone riding anti-socially or putting members of the public in danger.
On 14th May, as a result of a brilliant piece of investigative work by my officers, an 18 year old man was arrested and charged with a Public Order offence and breach of Community Protection Notice. He appeared in Court and was given an £80 fine, a 6 week prison sentence suspended for 18 months and he is now subject of a Community Behaviour Order that prevents access to the City Centre for 3 years (unless attending the Job Centre or Solicitors). Well done to everyone involved.
I am pleased to say that recent figures show a decrease in ASB of 12.8% from 2015/16 to 2016/17 and we will continue to work pro-actively to improve the City Centre. In January 2017, 82.6% of people say they feel safe in the City Centre in the day time and a range of activities have been undertaken throughout the year to improve the perception of safety within the City Centre during the day and night time. This includes Street Pastor patrols conducted each week and details provided to the Police. Between April 1st 2016 and March 31st 2017, Street Pastors patrolled approximately 95 times. Approximately 3000 bottles/glasses were collected during this period and around 290 Street Pastors covered the City over this year. I would encourage any member of the public to speak to the Street Pastors who give up their evenings to ensure that public safety is maintained and thank them for the valuable service that they provide.