New South Wales Police chief's neighbourhood policing vow

Image source, South Wales Police
Image caption,
Matt Jukes became a police officer with West Yorkshire Police in 1995

Matt Jukes has become South Wales Police's new chief constable on New Year's Day, pledging to "protect neighbourhood policing".

The former deputy chief constable replaced retired Peter Vaughan to lead Wales' largest police force.

Mr Jukes worked for South Yorkshire Police for 15 years and the National Counter Terrorism Policing before joining South Wales Police in 2010.

He was on the beat in Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taff, on New Year's Eve.

"A great deal of prevention takes place on the frontline which is why I am a firm believer in neighbourhood policing," he said.

"Addressing many of the issues on the streets of south Wales, such as the impact of mental health, homelessness and rough sleeping, lies beyond the police alone.

"But I am clear that we need to be visible and active with partners and in support of our communities.

"There are areas like tackling organised crime where we will continue to take robust and co-ordinated action.

"By working in partnership with other organisations I hope we can continue to reduce the vulnerability of the public and the demands on our services."

Mr Jukes said one of his biggest priorities will require the force "to change, develop and invest" in areas such as digital fraud and online sexual offences but also harassment, bullying and abuse which "often has a digital dimension".

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South Wales Police covers 1,288 sq miles - including Cardiff, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Swansea - and employs almost 3,000 police constables and more than 1,500 support staff.

Mr Jukes said he wanted the force to continue to lead on innovative projects like body-worn video cameras identifying suspects using "ground-breaking facial recognition".

But he added: "All of this takes place in a period of continued financial pressure."

Mr Jukes has appointed assistant chief constable Richard Lewis, a police officer since 1987, as the force's new deputy chief constable.

"During his time as assistant chief constable, his vision has put South Wales Police at the forefront of developing technology and innovation in modern day policing," said Mr Jukes.