A small army of PCSOs and police officers descended on Cwmaman this week aiming to brighten up the village and encourage residents to feel safe.
PCSO Gareth Handy speaks to Cwmaman resident Dorothy Williams.
Two police officers and 12 PCSOs spent three days, Monday to Wednesday (July 21 – 23), visiting hundreds of homes and local businesses to speak to people about what concerns them most about their community.
The initiative – dubbed Project 446, which is a partial reference to the area’s post code – is part of a wider campaign which aims to address a disproportionate concern for personal safety among the people in the area.
Statistics show crime is falling in Cwmaman, but a police survey revealed that young people in the area are more likely than anyone else in Rhondda Cynon Taff to fear crime and question their own personal safety.
Further research established that these concerns were being fuelled as much by environmental issues, such as graffiti and fly-tipping, as they were by people’s knowledge of drug abuse and dealing – issues that police suspect aren’t being reported.
In direct response to this, local authority street cleaning teams accompanied police officers and PCSOs during the operation, and were on hand to deal immediately with complaints about eyesores caused by fly-tipping, graffiting or criminal damage.
Sergeant Anthony Moyle, said:
“We recognised that an apathy for engaging with the police existed among local people.
“Recorded crime levels may have been decreasing, but people were not happy and weren’t telling us about everything they knew or what concerned them.
“We took a closer look, and it was clear that the area was untidy and neglected in parts. We also saw that some residents were choosing to dump furniture, litter and other unwanted items outside their houses and in the lanes. Because of this, people felt unsafe.
“Over the past few days, we have been out speaking to residents, and have listened carefully to their concerns. In some cases we were able to take immediate action and clear-up some areas which has been very well received.
“Our commitment will continue and residents will hopefully see and appreciate what is being done to make their community better.”
This week’s operation kicked-off a sustained and concerted multi-agency action plan for the area which is being led by the neighbourhood policing team.
Officers have partnered with other key council departments such as housing and environmental services to affect long term changes which tackle the root cause of some problems.
Discouraging the resettlement of individuals with a history of drug related criminality or abuse, or anti-social behaviour, in Cwmaman, is one priority.
Anyone who would like to speak to their local police officer about the campaign, or who would like to discuss issues they may have, can contact Aberaman South PCSO Mike Williams on 07805301036 or Aberaman North PCSO Leanne Lacey on 07584004319.