Agenda item

Presentation to Council by South Wales Police


The Mayor welcomed Chief Superintendent Chris Truscott, Divisional Camp Commander for the Western Division and Superintendent Eve Davies, who gave a remote presentation to Council on the current position for South Wales Police.


Members praised the professionalism and expertise within the force over the last eighteen months and commented that technology such as facial recognition and I.T. applications will potentially lead to cost savings.


Members asked for reassurance that prevention work and rapid response will still be carried out in relation to anti-social behaviour, given the current resource pressures. Chief Superintendent Truscott confirmed that anti-social behaviour was a high priority and despite funding pressures the force is committed to neighbourhood policing and investment continues in relation to PCSO’s. A commitment was made that teams will continue to work proactively with all partners and members to solve problems that are impacting on local communities


Members commented on the outstanding efforts of South Wales Police to tackle substance misuse and serious and organised crime. Members asked what additional measures could be taken to address substance use and the extent of South Wales Police engagement with the recently established Western Bay Drug Commission. Chief Superintendent Truscott acknowledged that anti-social behaviour and substance misuse were linked and continued to be a concern. Although enforcement would still be carried out for those who cause the highest level of harm there is also a need for partnership work in relation to educating young people. Superintendent Eve Davies gave an overview of Project Adder.


Members asked for information relating to media reports of plans to restrict responses to certain types of incidents and asked if any restrictions would be imposed locally, especially in relation to vulnerable people in crisis. Chief Superintendent Truscott outlined the Right Care Right Person programme, which has been adopted nationally and is being implemented across England and Wales. Work is ongoing in relation to the practicalities of the programme and a number of partner engagement events are taking place. Priority will always be given to people who are in significant and immediate crisis but it was noted that in certain situations, where no immediate threat to life was present, other partners may be best placed to attend. Clear understanding of each partner organisations responsibilities will be needed. The initial roll out is planned in the New Year/spring 2024.


Members outlined the recent issues at Baglan Energy Plant and stressed the importance of monthly meetings between Councillors and police to resolve any issues.


Members commented that many residents have lost confidence in calling the police and asked if data is available regarding the onward progression of reported crimes. Chief Superintendent Truscott, gave reassurance that previous issues regarding phone call handling had improved but acknowledged that more work is needed in neighbourhood policing to regain public confidence.   Data on incoming call handling and response proportion is available. 


Members made reference to the inadequate police response to the public disturbances that took place in Mayhill, Swansea and asked whether this could happen again. Chief Superintendent Truscott acknowledged that the force had learnt lessons from the Mayhill incident and recommendations from the independent review had been actioned. These recommendations were tested during a similar public disturbance in Ely and had worked well.


Members questioned whether there would be any changes to the precept this year. Chief Superintendent Truscott was unable to comment but following consultations with the Police and Crime commissioner, members will be updated of any changes.


Members expressed frustration regarding police reluctance to intervene in neighbour disputes and the high incidences of on-road and off-road motorbike nuisance and questioned whether drones could be used to help address this particular issue.


Members commented on the shift pattern of the PCSO’s in the Afan Valley; current shift patterns do not provide adequate cover. Chief Superintendent Truscott will ensure the shift patterns are reviewed but gave assurances that other neighbourhood policing teams are available to respond to any urgent incidents.


The Cabinet member for Housing and Community Safety thanked Chief Superintendent Chris Truscott and Superintendent Eve Davies for their presentation and detailed responses to member’s questions.