South Wales Police have informed Penarth Town Council that – on a trial basis – 25 “response officers” and 5 police sergeants are now based at Penarth Police Station.
The new staffing arrangements – which are on a “trial” basis came into force in January – but have only now been publicly announced.
Officers from the Penarth Police station are now covering not only Penarth itself but also much of the rural Vale of Glamorgan .
The announcement was made at last night’s meeting of Penarth Town Council by Inspector Gary Smart who is in charge of policing in the Penarth Area. An assessment on the trial will be carried out at the end of this month when a formal report will be submitted – and if successful the staffing arrangement could become permanent.
Inspector Smart said that the officers would be covering the rural Vale as well as Penarth itself – but the arrangement would provide an enhanced “local focus”. Three new police officers – currently under training – would be joining the team in Penarth shortly and a new PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) Sion Summers – a former youth worker – is now based in the Plymouth Ward of Penarth .
Councillors heard that a number of police operations had been or were currently in progress including one which had subjected customers at a local pub to random drugs testing. Out of 66 people tested, 12 had traces of drugs.
In addition an operation called “Blue Avalanche” – conducted in collaboration with Barry officers – had resulted in 11 arrests of people who had been wanted for some time for various offences .
Inspector Smart also briefed the council on a new operation to combat rogue traders in Penarth which will be starting this month (March) called “Blue Delta” .
Penarth he said was becoming susceptible to rogue traders who he described as “people who come to the area with a view to charging people a lot of money for very little work” . This multi-agency exercise would also involve HM Customs and Excise and Trading Standards. The initiative would also involve engagement with “the more elderly members of our community” to encourage the reporting of rogue-trader incidents . Inspector Smart also said his officers were also concentrating on driving down violent crime.
Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines) asked Inspector Smart what he would be doing regarding rogue traders and elderly people.
Inspector Smart said that a lot of elderly people – if they did get scammed – looked on it as an embarrassment. The police aim was to establish a “Friendship group” in which they could talk about it – an initiative which had a lot of other positive benefits and which encouraged the reporting of such incidents. Preventative measures were also taken and streets that were considered vulnerable were identified . The message was “if you come to Penarth and you’re a rogue trader you are going to be reported” and the police and other agencies would investigate them.
Penarth councillors were confronted last night with yet another new – and different – format of local crime statistics provided by South Wales Police – apparently created by computers running software developed in Canada.
Confusingly, the figures presented for December 2016 turned out to be different from those which had been presented to the council a month ago The original figures for December 2016 are in BOLD black print and the revised figures are in Red
- Theft (primarily shoplifting) 26 18
- Violence Against a person 30 32
- Burglary other 3 2
- Criminal damage 7 12
- Dwelling Burglary 4 5
- Other Notifiable Offence 1 2
- Sexual Offence 2 4
- Drugs Offence 3 3
- Fraud/Forgery 1 (Not included in new version)
- Theft of vehicle 1 1
- Theft from Motor Vehicle 1
TOTAL DECEMBER 78 80
The figures for January 2017 were:-
- Theft (primarily shoplifting) 19
- Violence Against a person 34
- Burglary other 3
- Criminal damage 7
- Dwelling Burglary 1
- Other Notifiable Offence 4
- Sexual Offence 1
- Drugs Offence 2
- Fraud/Forgery NOT INCLUDED
- Theft of vehicle 1
- Theft from vehicle 1
TOTAL JANUARY 2017 73
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell ) said that he had been told by local residents of an increase in anti-social behaviour around St Cyres Park – “especially by the gun-club” . Cllr Wilson said the people responsible appeared – according to what he had been told – to be “students possibly from St Cyres School” -although he wasn’t saying this was definitely the case.
He said the “students” seemed to be out of school “maybe because they don’t have lessons” – but said there could be younger children there as well. he asked Inspector Smart whether the police could “keep a watching eye” , perhaps starting with the school to make them aware of the situation. Cllr Wilson said it had been raised as a concern by elderly residents in the community.
Inspector Smart noted Cllr Wilson’s point and said the Schools Liaison Officer had now been transferred to his command . The schools liaison officer , he said, was a qualified teacher as well as a police officer and this would be a matter very much in her remit on her return to the office in mid-March .
Cllr Clive Williams (Independent Plymouth Ward) said he had noticed there was a lot more graffiti around Penarth than previously . He said that in the lane from the Cefn Mably Pub to Earl Road (in Cllr Wilson’s ward) graffiti between 6 and 8 feet high had been daubed on the walls.
Cllr Wilson said this was an issue all over Penarth and appeared to have got worse recently.
Inspector Smart said a lot of work was being done to identify graffiti “tags” . The graffiti he said, was “done overnight” – but he said the issue “is on our radar”.
Cllr Williams also noted that the list of crimes of violence submitted to the council included one instance of a “threat to kill“. He said he would not want anyone like that wandering around Penarth.
Inspector Smart said a “threat to kill” could be -for instance “in a domestic situation” – and action had been taken.