I want to start my blog by bringing to your attention our new Your Voice Priorities for the Stow Hill ward, these are anti-social behaviour and youth nuisance alongside begging upon the city centre.
My staff will continue to work with partners to address these problems through a range of multi-agency approaches and I would encourage the public to report any incidents of this kind directly to us by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Local partner agencies have recognised that within Newport City centre there is a need for greater youth services, especially during the Summer holiday period. As a result, a pilot initiative has been set up with the assistance of local businesses to engage with youths with the aim of diverting them away from anti-social behaviour and crime. The initiative will allow them to develop a new talent whilst giving youths someone to talk to about a range of issues they could be coping with. Young people in Newport have the chance to attend a series of workshops to learn new skills, including arts and crafts, graffiti, dance, DJ'ing and MC'ing. This culminates in a Summer event to showcase their new skills to their family, friends and the local community. Initial feedback has been positive and there is potential for this scheme to be rolled out later on in the year. Watch this space!
I attend the 'Rough Sleeper Tasking Group' and we work with our partner agencies to share information and support initiatives to help those who are homeless in Newport. We are committed to offering the appropriate support to those individuals who most need it within the community. I also recognise that there is a small minority who are begging in the city centre that are not homeless or in need of additional support. These individuals often beg to fund their lifestyle and I would encourage members of the public to donate through recognised charities rather than give directly to those that are begging as this can often prevent them from seeking help from appropriate partners.
In response to concerns raised from members of the public regarding begging, I have tasked my officers to patrol the city centre and identify those individuals in order to divert them away from begging and signpost them towards specialist support. Each individual is discussed at the tasking group so that we can provide support tailored to their individual needs. However, begging is a criminal offence and those that are doing the most harm to the community will be dealt with appropriately and I'd encourage members of the public to report any instances of begging to us.
Finally, it is really pleasing to welcome six new Special Constables to Newport Central, the time given by volunteers within the force is exceptional so I look forward to seeing them out and about soon; please say hello and thank them for their efforts.