Posted: Thu 18th Apr 2024

Not enough police officers in Blaenau Gwent, says councillor /

THERE are not enough police officers in Blaenau Gwent a councillor has said.
The first Serious Violence Duty strategy for the whole of Gwent went before members of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Place scrutiny committee on Tuesday, April 16.
The strategy is needed due from new legislation which came into force in 2022.
This puts a duty on local authorities, health boards, probation services, youth offending teams and the fire service to work with the police in identifying the kinds of serious violence and its causes and implement a strategy to deal with it.
The vision for the region is called a “Gwent without violence” and establishes what needs to be put in place, such as better data collection, before a longer term strategy can be agreed.
Locally the Blaenau Gwent Community Safety Partnership will oversee the work.
Former police officer and Independent county councillor Gareth Alban Davies who is one of Blaenau Gwent’s representatives on the Gwent Police and Crime Panel said: “Out of the five Gwent counties, Blaenau Gwent has the lowest confidence in the police, and I wonder what you propose to do with that.”
Community safety professional leader Helen Hunt explained that part of the Serious Violence Crime Duty is about building public confidence to report to the “appropriate” place and that this is not always Gwent police.
Taking anti-social crime and an example Ms Hunt explained that a leaflet was being put together that explains who people should contact to report problems.
Some aspects need to be dealt with by registered social landlords and council departments who have a duty to respond and deal with some crimes and types of anti-social behaviour.
“That will give members of the public confidence,” said Ms Hunt.
Cllr Davies said: “Public confidence comes from their dealings with the police and I think the officers we have in Blaenau Gwent are doing a fantastic job, but quite simply there’s not enough of them.”
He added that if people knew that they would get a quick response when reporting incidents that would “improve confidence.”
Cllr Davies added that it was probably a in depth discussion for “another day.”
Councillors agreed the report and the committee will receive regular reports on the duty by the Blaenau Gwent Crime and Safety Partnership.
In Gwent, the duty has focussed on 11 categories of serious violence which are: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

• Weapon crime with a focus on bladed implements
• Youth violence
• Grievous bodily harm with intent
• Actual bodily harm
• Robbery
• Sexual violence
• Stalking harassment
• Arson with threat to life
• Assault on emergency workers ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Of these the top five categories of violence crime in Blaenau Gwent are: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Stalking and Harassment,
ABH with Intent,
Weapon related crime,
Rape and Sexual offences.
Bladed weapon crime. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report explained that 44 per cent which equates to 312 incidents in the last five years, of all known weapons used to commit crime in Blaenau Gwent were bladed implements.
Blaina is the area of most concern in Blaenau Gwent in regards to weapon crime as there was a total of 10 crimes in 2022/23. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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