South Wales Police told Penarth Town Council night there were 78 crimes reported in Penarth in September 2016 – compared with 61 crimes in September 2015 – an increase of 27% in 12 months.
The full council meeting, chaired by the Mayor Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) was presented with figures also showing that last month (October 2016) there were 73 crimes reported – compared with 72 in October 2015 – an increase of 1.9%
[PDN Note: South Wales Police have altered their reporting method and have retrospectively modified historic statistics so they can no longer be compared with the data which was originally supplied to Penarth Town Council a year ago.]
Attending last night’s council meeting was Sergeant Julie Madoc of Penarth Police who provided statistics for the previous two months and those for the same months in 2015.
The breakdown of the latest crime figures for October 2016 was as follows:-
- Theft (primarily shoplifting) 23
- Damage to vehicle 7
- Theft from Motor Vehicle 5
- Burglary other 4
- Criminal damage 4
- Dwelling Burglary 2
- Other Notifiable Offence 2
- Sexual Offence 2
- Theft of Motor Vehicle 2
- Fraud and Forgery 1
- Assault with injury 10
- Assault with intent to cause serious harm 2
- Assault without injury 8
- Breach of restraining order 1
Speaking of October. Sgt Madoc said there had been 23 offences of theft and an increase in shoplifting offences of 3.
The number of BIKE THEFTS had increased – but the Sgt Madoc said the police were being “very proactive” in dealing with these cases. She said 4 people had been identified and were due to be arrested shortly. One offender had been responsible for 12 offences in the Vale and in Cardiff . Police had put his image on Twitter and Facebook and he had been arrested “within 24 hours”. Sgt Madoc said another offender had committed 10 offences in the Vale, Penarth and Cardiff and his picture had also been published. Sgt Madoc said that a police officer’s own bike had been stolen in October “which was very upsetting for her “
There was normally an increase in SHOPLIFTING coming up to Christmas. Sgt Madoc told councillors that PCSOs were now carrying out “Operation Shopwatch” – and were constantly patrolling the town centre of Penarth during the day and popping into local shops. This tactic, she said, was reducing opportunist thefts .
THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING DINERS:-
Sgt Madoc said she wanted to bring councillors attention to 2 recent cases of restaurant diners disappearing without paying their bills or – to use police terminology – “making off without payment”.
The management of the The Captain’s Wife restaurant in Sully had directed its staff to report to the police all cases of people leaving the premises without paying their meals.There had been 2 recent incidents. The restaurant had said it did not want the police to investigate the cases, but was now – as company policy – reporting each incident to the police .
Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymuth Ward) queried why the statistics referred to “Alexandra Ward” – a ward name which he said “is not in being any longer” . [There was no reference to either St Augustines or Plymouth Wards in the data provided by the police]
Cllr Mark Wilson noted that the “Number One issue” in Penarth was parking . He said he was “sick and tired” of the number of instances of illegal parking – which he said was “on zig-zags, and around corners, and it’s very very deliberate”. The situation – he said was getting “worse and worse”.
Sgt Madoc said there was a consistent problem on a Sunday when rugby matches were on [ near Penarth Athletic Ground] cars were parked down to Evenlode Avenue. She said that her officers had tried to cone-off the area – but ROAD CONES seemed to be popular items to take away . The police stock of cones had now depleted “considerably” – so much so that when the annual Firework Display was being held at the Athletic Ground, the police had found it necessary to borrow extra cones from Cardiff City Football Club.
Cllr Wilson said he had seen people leave their cars in the middle of the road for five minutes or more to visit a local chip shop.
Sgt Madoc agreed. When off-duty she had encountered a taxi double-parked outside a nursery. It had been necessary to show the driver her warrant card to persuade him to move. Through links with the schools, pupils were now being urged to ask their parents to park properly .
Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines) said she had attended a meeting of the governors of Fairfield School the previous evening at which the governors had said they were “greatly concerned about the parking in the area”. Cllr Cook said “I realise there’s no easy answer – particularly with the primary schools in Penarth some of which were Victorian and situated in very built-up areas. ” She said Fairfield School had done all it could to make parents aware of the need to park safely. Fairfield had invested in the Green Cone scheme – but the cones were driven-over and constantly needed to be replaced .Cllr Cook said bluntly “Some parents don’t care”.
Cllr Cook said there was an official one-way system at Fairfield but “people regularly ignore the rules”. She said “This week a parent drove the wrong way up Dryden Road , parked the car in the middle of the road and she took the child to the school gates – you can imagine how irate people were”.
Cllr Cook also drew attention to the problems confronted by the school crossing patrol officer on Wordsworth Avenue – which she described as “one of the most unenviable jobs in the world”. Cars regularly parked directly in front of the officer as she was trying escort children across the road – drivers ignored her, parked on pavements and on grass verges. When local residents complained they were “taken to task” and often suffered “considerable verbal abuse”. Meanwhile, Cllr Cook pointed out, the number of pupils at Fairfield had increased with further increases due in the future.
Sgt Madoc said the police had issued letters to parents asking them to be considerate . If the problem continued, “warning letters” would then placed on cars which informed the driver than in the event of any further infraction they would be “ticketed”.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) said that if a police officer had arrived on the scene the errant drivers should be booked . “They’ve had all their chances. If a couple of tickets went out, that would have a huge effect”. Sgt Madoc said her officers had “started ticketing”. Cllr Roberts also noted the continuing issue of the potato delivery lorry outside the Plassey St chip shop which he had “photographed regularly”.
Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said what was called for was a change in the culture of drivers . They should never park on zig-zag lines – that was an offence at any time.
Sgt Jones asked whether it would be a good idea to get information from the local parking wardens [ Civilian Traffic Enforcement Officers employed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Bridgend County Borough Council] in order to establish what action they were taking on local parking in Penarth. Councillors agreed that it would be.
Cllr Anthony Ernest said that at the bottom of Beach Road on Sundays – when traffic enforcement officers were not on duty cars were often parked part on the road and part on the pavement or wholly on the road. Cars coming down the hill were confronted with parked cars “sticking out into the carriageway“.
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) wanted to know whether the offenders were “Penarthians “. Sgt Madoc said they came from Cardiff .
Cllr Turner also noted that the new format of crime statistics no longer included “domestic violence” as a category. This, he said, was often an issue at Christmas. Sgt Madoc said the police were very proactive in this area and took “positive action every time” . A lot of equipment had been purchased for “Target hardening” including new locks.
Cllr Roberts also queried statistics on “harassment” [11 cases in October] . Against the background of Brexit and the American Presidential election – he wondered whether there was now less tolerance and more aggression or was this something local?
Sgt Madoc said if sometimes people alleged “harassment” as a result of something which had been said about them on Facebook. Sgt Madoc said she had questioned this because “I don’t feel that should be down as a harassment” .
On Cllr Roberts’s broader point, Sgt Roberts said she trawled through every reported incident coming in on 999 and 101 calls and she said “Personally I have not noticed any difference”.
Cllr Roberts thanked Sgt Madoc and her officers for their excellent and unobtrusive marshalling of the Remembrance Day parade the preceding Sunday.