Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner - 6 months in Office

15th May 2013

Since taking up the role on November22nd 2012, Mr Johnston has worked hard to reaffirm his commitment to ensuring the best possible police service is delivered to the residents of Gwent, and as a result is reported to be one of the busiest Commissioners in the UK!*

The most significant milestone since Mr Johnston's election has been the launch of the Police and Crime Plan in April. This plan will shape how police and crime priorities will be achieved across Gwent over the next 4 years.

On the plan Mr Johnston said; "It's important I make it clear that it's not my plan it's our plan, and as such I believed it vital that local residents had a chance to tell me what they think police and crime priorities should include.

"Reaction to the plan has been positive, particularly regarding the emphasis I have placed on quality of service and public confidence in policing." Another key part of Mr Johnston's role has been holding the Chief Constable to account for performance. Following the publication of the latest Home Office crime statistics in April, Mr Johnston welcomed the 20% reduction in crime but was keen to ensure that this didn't encourage complacency;

"I congratulated officers and partners on working together to achieve this marked reduction, however the decrease in public confidence is what is more concerning for me.

"Service delivery and putting victims at the heart of everything we do is my priority. I will continue to challenge the force because I believe there are improvements to be made to increase the satisfaction and confidence of communities and to ensure that the police in their area are dealing with things that matter to them." Performance will be routinely monitored at the monthly Strategy and Performance Board meeting.

In May, Mr Johnston decided to make these 'open' meetings;

"These meetings will provide residents with an opportunity to have their questions answered, as well as to see how I hold the Chief Constable to account on important matters affecting them. My aim is to make policing straightforward, transparent and accessible with residents given a real opportunity to have their concerns heard and answered."

In April Mr Johnston also outlined his pledge to engage with young people by signing up to the Youth Charter. He said;

"It is essential for Commissioners to engage with young people in the most appropriate and effective way. Reaching youngsters early and implementing intervention strategies will prevent offending and provide youngsters, who have an extremely valid contribution to make to local communities, with the best opportunities to realise their potential." Notably, earlier this year, whilst most police forces have frozen recruitment, Mr Johnston approved the appointment of 24 new Police Officers for Gwent;

"These officers will only contribute to making Gwent an even safer place to live and work. I look forward to seeing these officers take up their posts and embark on a rewarding and worthwhile career", he said.

Additionally, Mr Johnston has awarded funding to various organisations across Gwent.

In March Mr Johnston worked alongside the High Sheriff, Elizabeth Murray and community groups from across Gwent at the 'Your Choice, Your Voice' event.

Almost £30,000 was awarded to local groups that are involved in promoting and supporting community safety, crime prevention, youth diversion as well as tackling drugs and alcohol abuse.

The following month over £50,000 was awarded from the Police Property Act Fund to local community groups which help prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, divert people away from crime, and provide local activities that support the Commissioner's priorities for Gwent.

Mr Johnston said; "I am delighted to be able to help local groups like these which are working hard to provide supportive, enjoyable and diversionary activities in the Gwent area for the good of the whole community. We all have to take responsibility to make the area we live in a safer and more pleasant environment, and I hope that this money plays a small but significant part in contributing to the long term future of these valued organisations."

In April he also agreed to fund the virtual Neighbourhood Watch network, OWL (Online Watch Link), so it can continue to run in Gwent for the next year. On this initiative Mr Johnston said;

"OWL is a valuable tool that is managed by residents for the good of their own neighbourhoods and communities. It's a great example of police working with partners and members of the community to achieve a common goal - to make Gwent a safer place to live and work."

This is just a snapshot of some of the Commissioner's activity over the last 6 months. He is looking forward to continuing to improve policing services in Gwent, and is working hard to increase victim satisfaction and public confidence in the police service.

You can find out more and keep up to date on the work of the Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner by:

Visiting the website - 'Liking' us on Facebook - Following us on Twitter - @gwentpcc

Alternatively you may like to write to the Commissioner:

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Police Headquarters
NP44 2XJ

Or contact his office on 01633 642200