Keeping Promises – Keeping you Safe

Featured

In 3 years Alun Michael has built up an innovative team that Is working to make South Wales the safest place in the UK.

Savage Conservative cuts have reduced the number of police officers in South Wales from 3,400 to 2,800 but Alun has worked with the Chief Constable to protect local policing and with councils and other agencies to cut crime and disorder. His initiatives to reduce violence against women and girls, cut offending in the 18-25 age group and to protect vulnerable people are all bearing fruit.

Alun’s Police and Crime Plan 2016-2021 spells out how, if re-elected, he’ll drive work forward to complete the job. Find out more on the official site of the South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner.

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Academics endorse our approach to changing attitudes in the night-time economy

We’re aiming to change the culture – together

I’m delighted by the support we have received for our campaign to prevent, enforce and educate the public on alcohol-related violence and the law on serving alcohol to someone who is already drunk.

 

Changing the culture is an important part of making people safe in the night-time economy.  That is an ambitious idea and I’m very proud of the way members of my team and operational police teams have stepped up to meet the challenge – and the way in which organisations like the WRU and Licensees have co-operated with us.  Now an academic study has proved that it’s working!  I hosted a conference on reducing violence to look at the lessons. So here’s the report ……………

 

The Know the Score, Drink Less Enjoy More intervention combines awareness raising alongside a period of enhanced communication and enforcement of the law related to serving drinks to people who are already drunk.

The launch phase took place during the Six Nations Rugby tournament last year – with strong support from the Welsh Rugby Union – and has continued throughout Rugby World Cup, Fresher’s, Christmas and this years Six Nations Rugby tournament. The aims of the campaign is to:

  • Explain the law against serving alcohol to someone who is drunk
  • Support bar staff in refusing alcohol to people who are drunk
  • Deter sales of alcohol to drunks
  • Promote responsible drinking

South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael said:
“This initiative arises from the fact that in South Wales we want to do more to prevent the violence and social damage that often arises from misuse of alcohol. It may seem ambitious to want to change the culture of drinking in our towns and cities, but we believe that if we give people the facts many will respond positively and responsibly – and that’s now been borne out by the evaluation of the initiative.

“The initial evaluation published in July 2015 provided South Wales Police with great insight into alcohol related behaviour and violence. This next evaluation gives greater depth and reasoning behind the behaviours of people that consume alcohol within our night time economy venues throughout South Wales. The evaluation proves that the campaign has been a catalyst for change within the minds of the community.

“The campaign has also allowed partners to work together to come up with revolutionary and innovative ways of facing alcohol related violence and the law surrounding alcohol. E- learning has been piloted in Swansea and Cardiff as a resource to up-skill and ensure pub and bar staff learn about the responsibilities and standards expected of them.

“The success of the campaign is testament to the excellent relationships we have with our partners which include Public Health, Local Authorities, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, University of South Wales, Swansea University, The National Hospitality Academy and other organisations.”

An evaluation carried out by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University found that:

  • The proportion of participants who correctly reported that it is illegal for a bar server to sell alcohol to someone who is drunk increased significantly (from 48.0% to 62.4%);
  • The proportion of participants who correctly reported that it is illegal to purchase alcohol for a drunk friend increased significantly (from 50.2% to 63.4%);
  • The proportion of participants agreeing that getting drunk was socially accepted in the city’s nightlife reduced significantly (from 86.6% to 75.0%);

South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable, Richards Lewis said:
“The Know the Score campaign has been an asset to front line police officers over the past year. The message is clear and concise. The report published is essential in helping us to understand the true impact of the Know the Score, Drink Less Enjoy More campaign. It identifies how we can do even more to tackle alcohol related behaviour.

“There is still work to be done however the Know the Score campaign has set a clear agenda and has provided the necessary information to the people that need it.”

Chair of the Cardiff Licensees Forum, Nick Newman said:
“Being a part of the Know the Score campaign has allowed the night time economy venues throughout South Wales to come together and try and change the behaviour of consumers but also reinforce the law with bar and club staff.”

Zara Quigg, lead author of the report said:
“UK nightlife environments are key settings for alcohol consumption, drunkenness and related harms. The Know the Score #DrinkLessEnjoyMore intervention presents an important step in addressing this culture of drunkenness through tackling the sale of alcohol to drunks. Findings from the intervention evaluation suggest some positive outcomes. Increases were observed in nightlife user knowledge of the laws relating to selling alcohol to, and purchasing of alcohol for, drunks in bars, pubs and nightclubs. Further, nightlife user and bar staff acceptability of drunkenness in nightlife appears to have reduced. Such results are extremely encouraging, however further intervention is required to continue to prevent drunkenness and associated harms in nightlife settings in South Wales. Know the Score #DrinkLessEnjoyMore should form a key feature of future work.”

The campaign evaluation was discussed at the South Wales Violence Reduction Conference which we held in Cardiff on the 8th March 2016.

South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael continued:
“This conference shows how South Wales Police successfully works is partnership with other organisations to cut crime. During the conference partners will have the opportunity to explore theory and discover new ways of making South Wales an even safer place to live, work and visit.”

Media Contacts

Contact South Wales Police on John.Williams6@south-wales.pnn.police.uk or 07966751815 for interview opportunities and more information.

Notes for information:
The Centre for Public Health based at Liverpool John Moores University, is a vibrant research and intelligence community working with a range of partners and stakeholders at a local, national and international level. The Centre provides innovative, integrated and dynamic approaches to public health information to help improve wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. Its lead areas are drugs, alcohol, intelligence and surveillance, sexual health and violence and unintentional injury.

Campaign key messages
South Wales has some of the best venues to enjoy a night out and we want people to make sure they have a great time by simply having a bit less to drink and behaving responsibly. The campaign has the following messages:

  • It is illegal to serve someone who is drunk
    • It is illegal to buy a drink for someone who is already drunk
    • If you are drunk you will not get served or be admitted to licensed premises
    • You’ll have a better night out and enjoy yourself more if you drink less

Alun Michael launches new fund to help victims

New Fund will help victims, says Alun
Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

I’m pleased to have been able to announce the launch of a new Victims Fund for South Wales.  It’s in addition to the support that is already provided directly by Victim Support, which I already finance.

The fund aims to build capacity and maximise the potential of organisations to deliver services supporting victims of crime across South Wales, helping people to cope and to recover from their experiences.

Open to the voluntary and community sector, the fund can support new or existing projects that work with individuals and their family members who have been affected by crime.  We are also looking for innovative ideas of projects that would complement existing support services for victims.

Local community organisations and voluntary groups based in the South Wales Police force area can apply for funding if they are delivering – or proposing to deliver – specialist services focused on helping victims and their family members cope and recover from the impact of crime.

The fund is managed by Community Foundation in Wales and is open to receive applications from 29th February 2016 with the closing date for applications being 13th April 2016.

Further information about the fund along with the application form and guidance documents are available on the Community Foundation in Wales website.

Our Early Intervention approach will cut offending by women

The Rt Hon Alun Michael has launched the Women’s Pathfinder programme of work in Cwm Taf, during an event being held in the Orbit Business Centre, Merthyr Tydfil.  It builds on the Cardiff Women’s Pathfinder which has already been given financial support by the Commissioner.

Led by Integrated Offender Management (IOM) Cymru, the approach seeks to take an “early intervention” approach by asking why a woman have been drawn into offending – and doing something about it.

The new initiative is one of four new pilots in Wales and aims to reduce offending and reoffending by women by providing a whole system approach with coherence between Criminal Justice System, health and social care, welfare, children’s and other community services as well as collaboration between partners both within and outside the criminal justice system.

The launch event has highlighted the innovative approaches being developed by the Women’s Pathfinder, including ‘The Diversion Scheme’ which seeks to divert lower risk women away from the Criminal Justice System and into voluntary community interventions and support at the earliest opportunity.

Welcoming the project, the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael said: “The Diversion Scheme has been piloted in Cardiff since July 2014 and has diverted over 300 women away from the Criminal Justice System into a range of services including housing support, debt advice, mental health services, domestic abuse support and substance misuse interventions. That has helped to reduce crime and the impact on society by offering a way out of problem behaviour at the earliest possible stage.

“We believe there are opportunities to influence and promote the development of early interventions that help women to turn their lives around instead of being drawn deeper into the criminal justice system. This is about more than simply providing the funding, it demonstrates our commitment to work with partners to find every opportunity to intervene at the earliest opportunity and take prompt positive action to keep people safe.

“We are working alongside partners here today to provide a proportionate, holistic; women centric and integrated approach to women’s offending. Proportionate, informed and timely interventions designed to meet the needs of women, at key points of entry into the system, can help prevent offending and reoffending. IOM Cymru’s Women’s Pathfinder is a significant way of improving outcomes for women offenders and their families. It’s about tackling the causes of crime instead of just dealing with incidents. ”

The Cwm Taf Diversion Scheme was launched on the 15th February and is based at South Wales Police’s Merthyr Bridewell Custody suite. A major role for the Diversion Scheme is to assist police custody staff in identifying suspects and defendants with mental health needs, learning disabilities and substance misuse problems or other personal problems and ensure they get the help they need. While some will continue through the criminal justice system, with appropriate support, others will be diverted away from criminal justice and into services for treatment and care.

Katie Benson, one of the women supported by the Women’s Pathfinder, said:

“Unfortunately people find them self in a bad situation sometimes. Without the help of the diversion scheme my situation would have been a lot worse. It’s a good idea to give people a second chance because sometimes a mistake can change your life.”

“Exclude this man” is Commissioner’s plea to Home Secretary

I have responded strongly to an appeal from many people in South Wales who were shocked and angry about the threat of an event in Cardiff that appeared likely to encourage violence against women. This is the letter that I sent to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, enclosing a petition signed by  thousands of people:

Letter from Rt Hon Alun Michael, Police & Crime Commissioner for South Wales, to the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, at the Home Office, 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF

2nd February 2016

Dear Theresa

It has been brought to my attention that an individual who appears to intend to cause harassment and distress in the furtherance of his agenda – and to encourage and incite others to do so – is encouraging people to gather in Cardiff for purposes that are both unpleasant and potentially unlawful.  Whilst the operational issues are matters for the Chief Constable, the enclosed petition needs a response.

The individual concerned is Daryush Valizadeh, also known as Roosh V, who is, as I understand, an American of Iranian decent.  The information on media and social media suggests that he has an intention to come to Cardiff for the purpose of delivering his message on the issue of consent and rape.   The individuals who have brought this to my attention are concerned that the intent to come to this area is not genuine and is calculated merely to cause distress and potentially to encourage others to engage in criminal activity including rape of females.

Whilst I hesitate to give the oxygen of publicity to any individual of this nature, it is clear that activities by him or his henchmen are unwelcome and place the safety of women at risk.  There is reference to him advising those who attend the proposed assembly to take photographs and videos of any women who turn up to engage in a counter protest saying “I will exact furious retribution upon anyone who challenges you in public on that date (remember to record them)”.   The attached petition with in excess of 2,303 signatures requests that consideration be given to preventing him from entering or being in the country and I ask that you give urgent consideration to this request.

Yours sincerely

Alun Michael

South Wales Police precept will protect neighbourhood policing and community engagement

Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael aims to reduce the impact of Home Office cuts to policing by increasing the local police precept by four per cent. The money generated will broadly cover the cost of the additional National Insurance burden decided by Central Government and equates to an extra £7.99 per year (less than 16p a week) for band D households.

Mr Michael said: “The increase is essential to help protect the service which, despite the announcement of protection to the Home Office police budget, is still facing a cash cut of 0.6 per cent.

“The cuts imposed on South Wales are made worse by a police funding arrangement which takes £8.8m from South Wales and gives it to the other three Welsh police forces. The formula ignores Cardiff’s status as the capital city of Wales and the policing demands that brings.

“South Wales Police has already had to meet grant cuts of £43m and address demand and inflationary pressures. We are taking a balanced approach to soften the impact on policing our communities, protecting vulnerable people and keeping the burden on the rate payer to a minimum.

“We have made tough decisions for a number of years now in relation to how we deliver our services and this forward planning approach, combined with the innovative way in which we work with partners to reduce crime, is why we are able to continue to meet these financial challenges.”

He added: “South Wales remains the best value for money in terms of the cost to council tax payers in Wales.”

Despite the financial challenges South Wales Police has been consistently improving its performance and service to our communities and is now recognised as one of the best performing forces in England and Wales.

Much of this success has been recognised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, particularly in relation to improving the levels of victim satisfaction which now one of the highest in the country.

Overall South Wales Police has experienced an increase of just one per cent in all recorded crimes, which compares very well against similar forces who have an average increase of around 10 per cent, as well as the national average of six per cent.

Most importantly reporting has increased through encouraging people to have the confidence to talk to the police. This is particularly important when people are the victims of sexual assaults or violence.

Anti-social behaviour has reduced by more than 70,000 incidents since 2008-9 and detections recently reached at an all-time high – particularly burglary and violence against the person

The force has invested in new technology which is improving the way we work, as well as leading to efficiency gains. South Wales Police is the lead force for Niche and for developments in the IDIOM system for managing the data that is necessary to manage offenders. The Commissioner has played a leading role in the development of the Police ICT Company which is working to reduce costs and increase the effectiveness of Police IT.

Mr Michael has also reiterated his commitment to protect and maintain neighbourhood policing. He said: “Police officer numbers are currently 2,800 compared to 3,400 a few years ago. The money raised through this modest increase in the precept will enable South Wales Police to sustain these numbers for the coming year.

“Also additional money from Welsh Government Ministers has enabled us to keep 206 more PCSOs on the streets of South Wales and to maintain our commitment to local neighbourhood policing,” he added.

Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael added:

“I am very pleased that after detailed scrutiny of the police and crime plan, and our financial projections, the panel unanimously agreed to approve the precept proposals. This goes some way to helping, despite the cuts in central government funding.”

Early Intervention summit spells out the case for prompt, positive action

Evidence shows that the best way of preventing crime is to stop problems arising in the first place. That’s why South Wales Police – led by Police & Crime Commissioner Alun Michael and Chief Constable Peter Vaughan – have called a “Summit” at the Principality Stadium (formerly known as the Millennium Stadium) to engage agencies across South Wales in promoting “Early Intervention and Prompt, Positive Action”.

“However obvious it seems, we still fail to observe the message that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and in times of austerity we can’t afford to fail,” Mr Michael said today. “Recent evidence from Public Health Wales is compelling about the need to intervene early in the lives of individuals and families as problems start to arise. If we fail to take positive action in the early years the child and the family and society will all pay a price and agencies including police and prisons become overwhelmed.

“But it’s not just about the early years. We need prompt positive action throughout life – the success of the Youth Offending Teams has proved that if you act quickly the first time a youngster starts to go off the rails it can lead to life-saving changes. We’ve seen that the right intervention at the right time at any age can end a criminal career. But that action needs to be prompt and positive – and we need to act together. The same set of causes can damage health and lead to criminal actions, which is why we are working with health and local government to build on an evidence-based practical approach to making our communities in South Wales healthy and safe,” he said. “That’s what this summit is all about”..

Being able to develop the approach to early intervention is therefore vital to prevent problems escalating and when successful can impact positively on everything else. By offering help and support to people at the earliest opportunity we can try and prevent the situation escalating to a crisis point, and ensure they do not require a greater level of support and intervention at a later date.

The Chief Constable of South Wales Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner are hosting an Early Intervention Summit today, Friday 22nd January, and will bring together a host of experts and partner organisations in order to work together to develop Early Intervention across South Wales.

Chief Constable Peter Vaughan explains: “It is very important to bring together people with specialist knowledge to take part in an honest exchange of ideas and experience that will help South Wales Police improve the service we deliver and keep the community safe. Early Intervention is at the heart of building healthy, happy and safe communities, reducing demand on our public services.

“Early intervention combined with prompt, positive action will be our focus as we strive to protect the most vulnerable. The police are often the first agency to be in contact with families in need of help. We want to be part of the solution that prevents problems reaching the point where people need the emergency services. We can only do this by working closely with partners and by giving our police officers and staff the skills they need to adapt and to be part of the solution.

High profiles speakers from a variety of backgrounds including police, health and education will deliver presentations on best practice in inspire agencies to work together more closely to deliver an enhanced service.

Alun Michael added:” Co-operation is the overarching principle that inspires us because together we can achieve more than we can achieve alone.”

The summit will involve interactive workshop sessions designed to highlight the key challenges and opportunities going forward. It will also explore how to put more emphasis on prevention rather than cure even at a time of austerity and squeezed resources.

This is a long-term project and one that all participants are committed to making a success of for the benefit of all residents in South Wales.

There are a vast range of organisations providing impressive services across South Wales who all want to ensure resources are being directed effectively to achieve the best outcomes for vulnerable people across South Wales.

The summit’s aim is to ensure there is a common understanding of what is meant by Early Intervention and make sure everyone is working towards the same goal.