There has been some recent staff movement during August which will continue into September. Sergeant Phil O’Connell is leaving his position on Neighbourhood Patrol to take up his new position as a Neighbourhood Sergeant for Blackwood and Risca. I wish Phil all the very best in a role that I know he will enjoy and flourish in. Succeeding Phil is Sergeant Jim Neesam who has a wealth of experience and undoubtedly be an asset to the area. My Neighbourhood Team will also be up to full strength with the addition of 2 neighbourhood ward managers and 5 CSOs.
August has seen a marked increase in vehicle crime; Cwmbran wards have experienced a recent rise in theft of motorbikes and mopeds, whilst Pontypool and Blaenavon have seen a recent spate in vehicle crime specifically theft from vehicles. Blaenavon has become a priority area over the last week for dedicated patrols by both officers and CSOs alike during the evening and overnight when this type of crime is taking place.
On a more positive note, a 27 year old prolific offender from the Pontypool area has been arrested for 11 offences in the Blaenavon and Pontypool area, some of which relate to theft of vehicle number plates and theft of fuel. The man has subsequently been charged with a number of these offences and being investigated for other issues.
My officers continue to target those individuals that cause harm within our communities. At the start of the month, a prolific offending 16 year old male was sentenced to 18 months in prison for theft related crime, whilst another prolific criminal, Ashton Jones from the Cwmbran area was given a 4 month custodial sentence on the 28th August for driving offences and possession of a bladed article.
On the drugs front, the team continue to react to community intelligence on individuals who think it is acceptable to supply illegal substances. During August, several drugs warrants were undertaken in both Cwmbran and Pontypool with some excellent results. At an address in Henllys, four people were arrested and are currently on bail following a warrant where quantities of amphetamine and cannabis were recovered in addition to cash seizures. Similarly, a series of warrants carried out on the same address resulted in the seizure of drugs for which the male received a hefty fine and subsequently lives within the Gwent Police force area. Finally, officers within the Pontypool ward team assisted Trading Standards officers at an address in Uplands Drive in Trevethin whereby they uncovered a small cannabis cultivation. Two 19 year old men are currently assisting the team with their enquiries.
I have made the decision that from the beginning of October, Cwmbran town centre will have a dedicated police presence throughout the day to combat retail crime and anti-social behaviour. The area accounts for almost 20% of the total crime for the Torfaen area and these patrols will continue throughout Christmas to provide reassurance to visitors and the business community alike, whilst also being responsive to any incidents.