Public 'not getting good news on crime' - Gwent Police commissioner
DESPITE bad news stories and low public satisfaction with the police, the crime rate in Gwent is dropping, the Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner insisted yesterday.
The Gwent Police and Crime Panel met to scrutinise the draft Police and Crime Plan for 2013/17, submitted by Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston, at Caerphilly council offices in Ystrad Mynach.
In his draft plan Mr Johnston pledged to "put victims at the heart of everything we do" and "work with partners to divert people from offending behaviour".
His office will undertake a review of Partnerships and Communities Together (PACT) meetings and employ 24 new police constables, while making savings over the next three years of £24 million.
The report said despite Gwent Police achieving a 39 per cent reduction in serious violent crime, and a 17 per cent drop in overall recorded crime, public satisfaction has dropped five per cent, to 53 per cent, in one year, according to the British Crime Survey published in September 2012.
Chief Constable of Gwent Police Carmel Napier told the panel: "We need to celebrate our successes, we need to talk ourselves up. When you compare Wales against regions in England there seems to be a cultural ethos to talk things down."
Gwent has the biggest reduction in crime across all 43 police force areas in England and Wales, she said, and in December prosecuted more people for domestic abuse offences than anywhere else, even places with a larger population.
Panel member, Caerphilly councillor Colin Mann said television programmes such as Crimewatch made residents think crimes may be happening around the corner from them, and the media was a "huge element" in public perception.
Mr Johnston said: "For four quarters consecutively we have had the biggest reduction in crime. I don't think we are getting many good news stories in the media."
The panel will review the draft plan and make recommendations, to which Mr Johnston will respond on his website before March 31.