The Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff South area has a new Chief Inspector, Arabella Rees, who began in the role back in April 2021 and spoke to Bro Radio about how much she is enjoying it so far and the associated challenges connected with it.
Chief Inspector Arabella Rees of the South Wales Police took over the role from previous Chief Inspector, Tony Williams, in the Spring and told Bro Radio of her first impressions of the role and the area:
"It felt quite a big area when I was landing here and there are some big challenges, but I am really, really enjoying it and, while there is a huge variety of policing to do, and a lot of different demand for our services to respond to, it's just what a warm welcome I've had from our community and what a warm welcome I've had from our partner agencies. It's been a really good first couple of months and I'm really looking forward to my time here."
The new Chief Inspector also told Bro Radio of her excitement about Operation Elstree, a South Wales Police and emergency services scheme launched on the 1st May which aims to keep visitors to the coastal resorts of the area safe:
"I am really excited about this policing operation. It runs from Cardiff Bay, all the way down to Penarth, Barry and down the rural Vale coastline to Ogmore-By-Sea. We launched it on the 1st May and it's running to the 5th September and, essentially, what that sees is South Wales Police working jointly with our other blue-light colleagues, such as British Transport Police, South Wales Fire and Rescue, the Welsh Ambulance Service, to take steps to keep others safe and make sure that everybody is able to enjoy our coastline.
"We know from previous years that there are some very specific issues that can come up during summer months and specifically warm weather when we see greater numbers of people visiting our coast, so we're working with our partners in order to face down those challenges, prevent any issues arising and to make sure that everybody who visits our coast - residents and visitors from further afield - are able to enjoy them to the full effect."
Chief Inspector Rees also discussed the various ways South Wales Police are implementing Operation Elstree this summer, highlighting their new initiative regarding missing children, a scheme dubbed the "tag your tots":
"I'll say this until the cows come home; we love welcoming people to the coast, we love welcoming our families to the coast but, because of the increased number of people we are seeing on the beaches, they are becoming quite crowded and all it takes is for a child to walk a small distance away from mum and dad and suddenly they become lost in the crowd, and we don't want to see any stressed parents, any upset children, we don't want to see those missing child cases, so we would promote the child safety bands which are in place.
"They are promoted by the RNLI and you can get them from any of the traders on Barry Island and, similarly, the RNLI points at our various beaches, and they're just a little band you can put around your child's wrist and a space for mum and dad's contact details, so if we come across your child, we're able to keep them safe and also contact you to prevent any grey hairs when, suddenly, you realise they're missing."
In her chat with Bro Radio, the new Chief Inspector also spoke passionately about her desire for people in the area to report any crime that they see, saying:
"I am an absolute advocate that, if you see a crime occurring, or if you're aware that a crime has occurred, even if you're aware that someone else will report it, please take it upon yourself to report it because we need to know and we absolutely don't mind having duplicate reports.
"In terms of how you can report matters - in an emergency, please, of course, use our 999 facility and in a non-emergency, perhaps if a crime has already occurred and it may have occurred a small time ago and there's no ongoing threat to any person, then you can contact South Wales Police via 101, or you can also report it to us online via our website, or via social media - there's a number of different opportunities available to anyone who wants to report a crime to us and we would welcome you doing so, underlining the point of course that, if it is ever an emergency, then ring us on 999."
Bro Radio will chat to Chief Inspector Arabella Rees on a monthly basis about local policing and issues within the Vale.