More about this area
The force says...
Gwent has two Local Policing Areas aligned to five local authorities covering 1554 km2 with a growing population of 581,789. 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 below the Welsh and UK average.
The force area has rural towns, countryside and urban areas including the City of Newport (ethnic diversity, mainline rail, a football team, retail and leisure facilities, industrial port and a University). High volumes of traffic using the M4 and large regeneration projects bring benefits and complexities.
The implementation of the Police Officer Voluntary Exit Scheme has allowed us to recruit new officers and we are currently 3.5% higher in police officers and staff than last year. Gwent Police currently employs 1165 full time equivalent police officers, 129 PCSOs and 557 police staff. During 2015-16 the force responded to 192,948 incidents and 35,690 crimes. Violence without injury, sexual offences and cybercrime continue to rise. Gwent places a high emphasis on protecting the vulnerable.
An ambitious change programme continues to bring challenges and significant work has been undertaken to understand demand, streamline services and put resources where most necessary. This has enabled capacity for local and national priorities while investment in training, technology and staff wellbeing, underpinned by enhanced partnership working and a value driven culture mean the force is well placed to meet community needs and a changing criminal landscape.
Gwent is committed to the Wellbeing and Future Regeneration Act in Wales which means a greater drive towards one public service. This has added complexities for the force as a non-devolved service within a devolved landscape. 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 HMICFRS.
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, based on the OAs that have had a property transaction within the last 12 months, of £125,856 which is lower than the median of England and Wales (£230,358). Gwent has 27.9% of its OAs within the lowest 10% of house prices nationally, while 4.6% of OAs are within the top 10% of house prices nationally (and 1.1% of OAs are within the top 1%). This suggests that there are large areas of lower value housing and deprivation, with a smaller proportion of affluence and high house prices.
The demands for police services are not the same in every area of England and Wales. Our analysis has revealed that the socio-demographic characteristics of an area influence the demands for police services in that area.
In every police force, there is a concentration of predicted demands in a small number of its OAs. Taking England and Wales as a whole the most challenging 1811 (1 percent) of these account for 10.8 percent of all the predicted incidents. We have designated these areas of very high challenge and found that they are characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising or travelling in the area. Features which both cause and\or indicated a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises, including licensed premises, fast food premises, public transport and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are in combination.
0.3 percent of the very high challenge areas nationally are in Gwent. The highest challenge one percent of OAs in the force account for 4.2 percent of Gwent’s predicted incidents, these predicted demands are likely to occur in only 0.1 percent of the total area of the force.
- the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of incidents is very low compared with the national level of one percent;
- 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 very low compared with the national level of one percent;
- the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance at incidents is very low compared with 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 at crimes 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 112 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 from the centre of the force to each OA 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.