Ahead of our event ‘Working in partnership: Holding up the mirror’, Tracy McKim @Lady_McK from Newport City Council, tells us about the partnership between the Council and the Police following a crisis in the Pill area of Newport. Come along to our events in Cardiff and Llanrwst to see Tracy’s workshop where, along with Gwent Police, she will be discussing in more detail the partnership working to help improve this area of Newport.
Following serious public disturbances in the Pill area in the Autumn of 2016 the Council and Gwent Police led a partnership response known as the Pill Area Focus Plan. The Council’s Policy and Partnership team brought together key stakeholders working in Pill including Gwent Police, the Council’s Youth Service, City Services, Environmental Health, and Trading Standards services along with partners including Newport City Homes and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and a number of other service providers and put in place a wide range of interventions with the aim of:
- Improving the wellbeing of the Pill community
- Addressing the crime and ASB issues that concern the community
- Building the community’s trust and confidence in the key partners
- Promoting community involvement, a sense of pride and empowerment
The partners working in Pill are focusing on the key issues identified by local people. Actions to date include:
- A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was put in place by the Council to give the Police new powers to tackle three of the most common forms of anti-social behaviour, namely street drinking, use of psychoactive substances and anti-social gangs.
- Seven ‘Pill Action Days’ have now been held with Council officers working alongside the Police and South Wales Fire and Rescue to enforce the PSPO, ensure private rented accommodation is safe and that traders, licensed premises and taxi companies are acting responsibly. The Action Day held in June also involved the Heddlu Bach/Mini Police (from Pill Primary School) in raising speed awareness and promoting recycling.
- Gwent Police Operations Jewel and Gravitas targeting drug supply have resulted in 61 arrests and multiple convictions centred on addresses in Pill. Bikes used by drugs runners have been seized and destroyed.
- An anti-gang message drama production has been shown in Newport Secondary Schools with a positive reception from pupils and staff.
- A range of diversionary activities for young people have been delivered by the Youth Service, Newport Live and community organisations e.g. ‘The Bigger Picture’.
- One of only three Mini Police projects, currently in Wales, is now running in Pill Primary School with an aim of building trust between the police and the community and developing young people’s learning, skills and experience.
- The Council and other partners have supported the regular community clean-ups organised by Pride in Pill releasing staff to volunteer alongside local people.
- A diversionary pathway is in place for sex workers to ensure that they are offered the multi- agency support they need, recognising that they may be victims of exploitation whilst also using enforcement powers against persistent offenders and kerb crawlers.
- A joined-up approach to environmental enforcement has been developed by the Council e.g. closure notices for problem properties in Pill and planning enforcement for an unauthorised dwelling in the area.
- Environmental Health and the Fire Service have undertaken several joint inspections of HMO properties and have identified unlicensed HMOs as well as safety defects.
- Newport City Homes are progressing the £10m regeneration of their properties in Pill which will help to ‘design out crime’. They will shortly be opening a Community Hub in the Francis Close area to accommodate local groups and services, with the ‘Bigger Picture’ youth organisation based there.
Improved public perception
At the outset of the Pill project in January 2017, a community safety survey was undertaken so that residents could identify the issues that were of greatest concern, and to establish a baseline from which progress could be measured. A follow-up survey was undertaken in October 2017 and the results indicate encouraging progress against key public perception measures.
- The number of people who say they feel very unsafe walking alone after dark has fallen from 64% to 41% (-36% improvement)
- People who say that crime and ASB is more of a problem than last year has fallen from 43% to 26% (-40% improvement)
- People who say that they are satisfied/very satisfied with the service provided by the police and their partners has increased from 22% to 36% (+63% improvement)
- People who say that the service provided by the Police and their partners has got better compared to last year has increased from 15% to 38% (+153% improvement)
We are mindful of the need to make sure that the early progress is sustained over the long term. All key partners have indicated that they intend to maintain their focus on Pill, in terms of neighbourhood policing resources, holding regular Pill Action days, enforcement activities and improving engagement with the local community. The Pill Area Focus work programme will now be developed through the Public Service Board’s Wellbeing Plan interventions and Safer Newport. The Pill Area Focus work forms a model for the way in which we will need to work moving forward and in line with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act – with a focus on integrated wellbeing goals, through collaborative working, with the involvement of communities and mindful of preventative approaches and long-term impacts.