THE new Chief Constable for Dyfed-Powys Police, Richard Lewis has said that his priorities for the force will emerge following a 100 day conversation with officers and the community the force serves.
Speaking to members of the press today Thursday (Dec 17) via a Microsoft Teams meeting, the Chief constable said that it was ‘fantastic to be back’ but that it had been useful to have been away for a few years to be able to see things from afar. He said their were different perspectives not least the vast geographical area the Dyfed-Powys Police force has to cover.
When asked about the possibility of the return of the police helicopter the Chief Constable said he would fight hard to ensure that the force got the resources it deserves but that new technologies including drones were challenging the scope of the police helicopters on speed and cost. He said that he would ‘not be lobbying’ for the return of the helicopter.
The Chief Constable addressed the issues around rural crime in rural communities saying that the force has travelling bobby vans but that there was a wider debate to be had over police stations. He said that it would be easy to easy to be drawn in to major towns and that he was trying to push operational officers to be proactive in rural areas. He said that the force did not want to retreat into police stations in towns only.
Speaking about the possibility of a devolved justice system with financial benefits for Wales he said that he could only express his views on a personal level which were that he wanted what worked best for Wales. He said that he could have conversations with the Police and Crime Commissioner and politicians and that it was important that senior police officers had a voice in discussions behind the scenes so that politicians can make the informed decisions.
When asked why he had chosen Aberystwyth as the location to work his first shift the Chief Constable said that he was a student at Aberystwyth many years ago and that he returned there as a police constable. He said that he wanted to hear from those who were operational and that it would have been easy to sit at the HQ whereas Aberystwyth was as far away from headquarters as he could go.
The voices of the staff in rural areas may not be heard as often as the voices of those in Llanelli or Carmarthen
Mr Lewis indicated that one of the priorities was to deliver on tackling violence agains women and girls. He said that he had been speaking to door staff and the community about the issue of spiking and that provision of new CCTV helps in public spaces to combat drug dealing and drink related crime.
Praising the work of the force the Chief Constable said that neighbourhood policing in Dyfed-Powys was ‘second to none’ through the work of PCSO’s, Special Constables and Police Constables.
Reiterating his interest in new technology he said: “Who’d have thought two years ago I would be meeting journalists the way we are today.”
He said that there was no longer an essential requirement to travel to HQ so the force could put officers out in the community. He acknowledged that the new technology did not suit all and said that he was committed to ensuring that police stations in rural communities were there for ‘face to face’ and that they would be blended in to the way the force worked in future.
In summary the main priority appears to be a drive to tackle domestic abuse particularly crime against women and girls and the use of emerging technology blended in with traditional policing.