Gwent PEEL 2015
More about this area
The force says...
Gwent has two local policing areas aligned to five local authorities covering 15,542 kilometres with a population of over 576,700 which has grown 4.2% over ten years. Nearly 4% are mixed, black and minority ethnic.
The county is economically and culturally diverse with areas of affluence and deprivation. 11% is defined as most deprived with average gross weekly earnings 5% below the Welsh and 19% below the UK average.
Gwent has rural towns, countryside and the city of Newport (which has mainline rail, a football team, retail and leisure facilities, industrial port and a university, and is ethnically diverse). Regeneration and economic development is ongoing.
Gwent Police’s ambitious change programme has so far delivered a 16% smaller workforce than 2012 and the force currently employs 1,215 officers, 686 police staff and 185 Community Support Officers. A recently implemented Police Officer Voluntary Exit Scheme will allow us to recruit new officers. This, alongside our new operating model, investment in digital technology, cyber training and our force communications suite means we are well placed to meet the challenges of a changing criminal landscape in these times of austerity.
Over the last year Gwent dealt with 186,349 incidents and 36,491 crimes. Overall crime reduced by 5% over the last three years but violence (domestic abuse, violence without injury) and sexual offences (mainly historical) rose. Gwent places a high emphasis on protecting the vulnerable. Local crimes are balanced against regional and national priorities and Gwent collaborates with other forces for organised crime and counter terrorism.
Gwent is committed to the Wellbeing and Future Regeneration Act in Wales, which means a greater drive towards one public service. This has added challenges for the police as a non-devolved service within this devolved landscape. The announcement of local government reorganisation in Wales, and further public service cuts will bring added pressures.
Disclaimer: the above statement has been prepared by Gwent Police. The views and information in it are not necessarily those of HMIC.
Gwent Police provides policing services to the county of Gwent. The police force area covers 600 square miles with approximately 50 miles of coastline in the south of Wales. Although there are some more affluent areas, Gwent has a high level of poverty. Around 0.6 million people mainly live in the urban centres which include the city of Newport, and the towns of Ebbw Vale, Monmouth and Cwmbran. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit or travel through the county each year. The transport infrastructure includes a sea port.
England and Wales is made up of over 181,000 small areas known as census output areas (OAs). These have been defined by the Office for National Statistics to group together people with similar characteristics and to include, on average, 125 households. The size of the geographical area covered by each OA varies according to the population density in different parts of the country. The largest OA in England and Wales covers 20,166 hectares, and the smallest less than 0.02 hectares. A football pitch is approximately 0.75 of a hectare.
There are 1,884 OAs in Gwent with an average size of 82 hectares which is smaller than the national average of 87 hectares. While the majority (56 percent) of OAs in Gwent are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a smaller proportion (12 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Newport with the largest spread across the more sparsely populated rural areas.
The advantage of analysis at output area level is that it supports a people-centred approach. Differences in the socio-economic characteristics of people who live in different OAs lead to different behaviours, including the use of public services. These differences are reflected in the information that is collected in large data sets such as the census, the Ordnance Survey (OS) point of interest data and other quasi-economic sources that have been used in this analysis.
HMIC has been working with the London School of Economics to use econometric techniques to statistically model and predict the level of reactive demands for police services in each OA in England and Wales. Using police incident data and several thousand characteristics (variables) drawn from the census data, OS point of interest data and other smaller data sets for each OA, it has been possible to predict the number of incidents for each OA and determine how challenging each OA is likely to be to police. We have also used the house prices from the Land Registry as a proxy indicator of wealth. Gwent has a median house price of £120,026 which is lower than the median of England and Wales (£254,549). Excluding the least expensive ten percent and the most expensive ten percent of house prices, there is a 98 percent difference between low and high prices within the force area, suggesting that there are both areas of affluence and poverty.
The predicted number of incidents for each OA varies considerably. In Gwent, one percent of the OAs account for 12 percent of the predicted demands for police services – this is 0.2 percent of the total force area.
A concentration of predicted demands in a small number of OAs is a feature of every police force. We have designated these OAs (approximately 1,800 throughout England and Wales) as a very high challenge to police. These areas of very high challenge are characterised by social deprivation or a concentration of commercial premises (including licensed premises), and in some cases both.
- the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of crime is lower than the national level of one percent;
- the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of anti-social behaviour is lower than the national level of one percent; and
- the proportion of OAs that are very-high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance is lower than the national level of one percent.
As an indication of the challenge for the police to reach citizens in all parts of Gwent we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 1,884 OAs. These calculations of distance and time are based on using the road network under normal driving conditions and speeds, and indicate the size of the area and the quality of its road network.
Gwent has 181 miles of motorways and trunk roads but the average travel distance of 13 miles (longest 32 miles and shortest 0.1 miles) and the average travel time of 28 minutes are lower than the respective national averages of 17 miles and 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size and complexity of Gwent.
While the concentration of demands in a small number of locations (covering a very small area) may be helpful in focusing resources, it is not the totality of demand. The provision of services extends beyond those areas that are a very high challenge to police and includes the least challenging and most remote areas. The challenge of providing services throughout Gwent is a function of many things including the size and topography of the area, the road network and how congested the roads are. These considerations influence how police resources are organised and managed – for example, where police officers are based and their working patterns.