In his latest bi-monthly blog, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, highlights the efforts by Gwent Police and his office to tackle and raise awareness of hate crime; discusses his plans for the police estate and his determination to ensure the Chief Constable has the resources required to maintain visible policing within our communities . . .
“Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 14 – 21) provided an opportunity for both Gwent Police and my office to promote community cohesion and solidarity and to work with our partners to stand together against hatred and intolerance.
I was pleased to literally kick off the week in Gwent by hosting the first ever We Stand Together five a side Football Tournament with Gwent Police. The tournament, held at the Gol Centre in Lliswerry on October 15, attracted over 150 people including over 80 people participating for the ‘Commissioner’s Cup’ and the ‘Community Cohesion Plate’. Gwent Police took home the Commissioner’s Cup whilst team JUBA, a team of individuals supported by South East Wales Regional Equality Council (SEWREC) and the Zimbabwe Association, won the Community Cohesion Plate.
To mark the final day of National Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 21), both Gwent Police and my office hosted the We stand Together festival at the Riverfront Theatre in Newport. The festival was well attended and featured multi-cultural performances from dancers, singers, poets and storytellers. It was a golden opportunity to showcase and celebrate our cultural diversity in Gwent.
Last month I announced a comprehensive review of the Police estate, which aims to ensure that all police buildings and properties in Gwent are fit for the demands of modern policing and deliver a citizen focused service. I want to ensure that Gwent Police retains a visible and accessible presence in the heart of the communities it serves and this is what was behind my decision to open a brand new police station in the heart of Caerphilly in September.
I also announced that a new Police Headquarters building would be part of the first phase of the Police estate review. The current site on Turnpike Road in Cwmbran has served Gwent Police well over the last 50 years. However, the building is now of an age where expensive repairs and maintenance work are urgent, essential and are no longer financially viable. Gwent Police will move to a new purpose built site in Llantarnam, Cwmbran, from 2019, ensuring our officers and staff have a new base that is fit for purpose for the 21st century.
My priority remains to ensure that funding is invested directly into frontline policing in Gwent and I am committed to ensuring the Chief Constable has appropriate funds to recruit new officers to ensure that we have a responsive police which provides an efficient and effective service for our residents.
In 2016-17, the Chief Constable recruited 120 police officers to help maintain visible policing within our communities as much as possible and make up for the numbers lost over the last six years. We are recruiting a further 160 officers this year to invest in tackling emerging crime types such as cybercrime and protecting the most vulnerable in society. A number of these officers will replace those who have retired or have left the force already.”