There was no representative from South Wales Police present when Penarth Town Council met last night under the chairmanship of the Mayor Cllr Ken Rogers to consider – amongst other matters – the latest crime figures for the town.
The figures for April 2017 reveal a 12.65 % increase in the number of crimes committed in Penarth compared with the same month in 2016 – whilst the May 2017 figures show an increase of 9.23% in crimes committed – compared with the same month in 2016.
CRIMES COMMITTED IN PENARTH APRIL 2017
- Violence Against a person 35
- Other Theft 19
- Criminal damage 17
- Burglary Residential 5
- Theft from Motor Vehicle 4
- Other Drugs Offence 3
- Sexual Offence 2
- Other Notifiable Offence 2
- Drugs Trafficking 1
- Robbery 1
TOTAL APRIL 2017 89
CRIMES COMMITTED IN PENARTH MAY 2017
- Violence Against a person 23
- Theft (primarily shoplifting) 15
- Burglary other 4
- Criminal damage 10
- Dwelling Burglary 3
- Drugs Trafficking 2
- Other drugs offence 2
- Robbery 2
- Theft of motor vehicle 1
- Theft from Motor Vehicle 2
- Other Notifiable Offence 1
TOTAL CRIMES MAY 2017 65
The Town Clerk Emma Boylen said the police had informed her that there had been no reports of “rogue traders or distraction burglaries” in the last three months, there had been adjustments to the way in which “Violence Against the Person” offences were categorised and that, under new Home Office rules, shed and garage burglaries were now classified as “dwelling” burglaries .
Although Penarth Councillors had plenty of questions to put to the police [controlled by local resident and former MP Alun Michael – Labour’s South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner] – no officer had been available to attend the council meeting- but if councillors had any comments, the Town Clerk said they would be passed on to the police.
Cllr Yvonne Murphy (Labour St Augustines) – participating in her first full council meeting- went straight for the jugular. She asked the Town Clerk to inquire whether police had any comment on the fact that there had been an increase in crime in Penarth.
Cllr Murphy also wanted to know whether there was a reason that the police report was “out of sync” and quite hard to read?
[PDN Note : Perversely – since last year – the police statistics for Penarth have split the town into 3 rather than 4 Wards – ignoring long established ward boundaries , The statistics also include figures from a mythical and entirely fictional “Alexandra Ward” – a ward which ceased to exist in the last century. In addition, crime categories are constantly being altered, making it increasingly difficult to compare year-on-year trends].
Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) Leader of the Council said “Alexandra Ward” was a combination of St Augustine’s and Plymouth Wards – although he said he was “not interpreting in any way” the data laid before the councillors.
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) said he had raised this issue of “Alexandra Ward” in a previous Community Liaison committee meeting which had been attended by the police.
He said councillors might not believe it – but the reason given for the [ entirely false] categorisation of “Alexandra Ward” was that the police database management software was updated in Canada and it was too expensive to get this altered. South Wales Police, he said, used to break down the figures for the [ mythical] “Alexandra Ward” manually but the police, he said, “don’t seem to have the resource element to do that any more”.
“Alexandra Ward“, Cllr Wilson said, had not been an officially-recognised ward of Penarth since 1999.
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said the category of Domestic Violence seemed to have disappeared [not for the first time] from the police categories for some reason.
Cllr Ben Gray (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said he had noticed on the South Wales Police web site that “PACT” meetings [ police and public liaison meetings] had been suspended because of the local elections and the General Election, and were supposed to be being resumed, but no dates for new meetings had been given. Cllr Gray said he understood that individual ward-by-ward PACT meetings might no longer be appropriate, but he wanted to know when the police would start having PACT meetings in the community again.
In the absence of a police representative at the council meeting, the councillors’ queries and comments will be passed on the South Wales Police for a reply