PCC Celebrates OWL Success

Gwent PCC Ian Johnston put his gardening skills to the test this morning as he met with Coed-y-Paen resident Sue Rogers in Monmouthshire to present her with a £50 gift voucher from B&Q. Sue won the voucher in a competition aimed at encouraging more local residents to sign up and take advantage of the Online Watch Link (OWL) system, which is funded by the OPCC.

Selflessly, Sue has contributed her winnings to the Coed-y-Paen Residents Association of which she is a member and the voucher is being spent on purchasing plants and shrubs to add even more colour to the village which scooped a Gwent 'Best Kept Village' award last year. She hopes the prize will help make them worthy of the title again this year and when the PCC and Gwent Police heard about what she was doing with her winnings, they decided to donate a tree towards the cause. Gwent PCC Ian Johnston went along today to congratulate Sue and the other residents and helped them by getting stuck in with some of the planting himself.

Sue was one of five winners who won vouchers in the April competition. Sue was selected as the winner for the Monmouthshire LPU for signing up the highest number of her friends and family to the system that month. The other four winners were: Blaenau Gwent - Lisa Bailey Caerphilly - Rebecca Hughes Newport - Heather Jones Torfaen - Catherine Edwards

Over 41,000 (41,069) households in Gwent have now signed up to OWL, which encourages two-way communication between local residents, Neighbourhood Watch and local Neighbourhood Policing Teams.
In a competition which runs until the end of June, all existing OWL members like Sue can be in with the chance of winning a £50 shopping voucher just by signing up their friends and family and encouraging more local residents to take advantage of the system.

Delighted with her prize, Sue said: "The Residents Association are delighted with the prize and it will help us spruce up the village and add even more colour. OWL is an important resource for us as a rural community because it's a way of communicating any problems or suspicious activity with each other and the Police. We decided as a village Residents Association that we should encourage more people in the community to sign up and read these messages, so I publicised it in our local newsletter."

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "OWL membership has now doubled in just fourteen months and it's a fantastic resource which adds considerable value to the work of Gwent Police and its partners. There are now over six thousand watches running on OWL across the Gwent Police area and the competition is aimed at helping us to increase membership. Gwent utilises the system brilliantly and the more members like Sue we have, the more ears and eyes we have out there in the community. It's great to see the selfless determination and community spirit of people like Sue who is investing the prize that she won back into her own community."

Ken Oliphant, Chairman of Gwent Neighbourhood Watch Association, said: "Owl in Gwent has gone from 7000 members in the first year to well over 40,000 now three years later. In the latest survey of members we had a fantastic response with an overall result of 98.5% responded in the positive to the questions. Thank you to all who took the time to fill it. With 1 in 6 homes in Gwent now on Owl, the next target is 1 in 4 so please get your friends and family to sign up and join the biggest crime prevention movement in Gwent."

Leeanne Husselbee, the OWL Co-ordinator for Gwent Police, said: "OWL is a fantastic tool which is used to distribute specific, targeted information to local residents and businesses keeping them up to date as to what is happening in their area."

Would you like to win a £50 shopping voucher? All you need to do is register to enter the competition on the OWL website www.owl.co.uk/gwent and encourage your friends and family to sign up to the system. There are two more chances to win in May and June. Full terms and conditions can also be found on the OWL website.