Skip to main content

Inaugural Safer Communities Awards 2023 

The inaugural Safer Communities Awards Ceremony took place in the Village Hotel, Swansea on Thursday, 30 November 2023 hosted by Lynn Bowles.

Nominations were opened at the end of September with a deadline for submissions in the middle of October, with the panel meeting at the beginning of November to agree the winners and highly commended.

The panel consisted of four people from the Welsh Government, Police Liaison Unit, Welsh Local Government Association and the Wales Safer Communities Network. They awarded 20 category specific awards (highly commended and winners) and deliberated on an overall winner from across the winners in each category.

Please find below a summary of those who were recognised across the awards twelve different categories.

We look forward to seeing you at the next Awards Ceremony!

Categories and winners

Winners of the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Category

Promotion of equality is integral to building community cohesion. Local cohesion may be undermined where some groups have different experiences or outcomes to others. It is important to tackle inequalities and related issues, such as fostering good relations across and between communities and supporting efforts to prevent extremism and tackle hate crime, including against those with protected characteristics.

Winner: Swansea Council’s Local Area Coordination Team, led by Jon Franklin.

The vision of Local Area Coordination is that all people live in welcoming communities that provide friendship, mutual support, equity and opportunities for everyone. It is a person-centred, community-based approach that recognises the value and potential of every individual. Offering personalised support, not a one-size-fits-all approach, focusing on what matters most to the individual or family. Promoting the idea that strong, inclusive, resilient communities are the foundation for individual well-being and social cohesion, keeping people safe and confident. They worked with 1,800 people in 2022 including helping those exploited into the sex industry, those going through hard times and were integral in working with Councillors, faith leaders and community groups to set up ‘warm spaces’ where people could meet in a safe and warm environment.

Highly Commended: Flip the Streets – Swansea Council Community Cohesion and Dr. Lella Nouri, Swansea University.

The Flip the Streets project works with young people to inspire residents and communities to participate, through art, in transforming spaces in their community to promote and strengthen community cohesion. It links to other Positive Messages and Art in the City. The project has been promoted and supported by the Community Integration & Partnership team and the first project was funded through Race Council Cymru, The Arts Council of Wales and led by Swansea University.


Winners of the Modern Slavery and Exploitation  Category

Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. It covers a wide range of abuse and exploitation including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced labour, criminal exploitation and organ harvesting. The Home Office has described modern slavery as “a serious and brutal crime in which people are treated as commodities and exploited for criminal gain”.

Winner & Overall Winner: North Wales Police Central Area Priority Crime Team for Operation Blue Tylluan


For their roles in law enforcement and investigation, specifically in regards to a county lines exploitation of a young person. An evidence-led complex investigation was launched with collaborated with a range of partners including local authorities and probation. In October 2022, ten offenders were convicted, receiving sentences up to 10 years imprisonment.  Seven convictions were secured for human trafficking, and six for conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine, despite the victim not being involved in the investigation. Three Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders, one Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order, and two restraining orders were also issued, ensuring for the safeguarding of the child and future potential victims.

The panel in awarding the overall winner award noted Operation Blue Tylluan for delivering best practice, safeguarding children and vulnerable people, identifying and protecting those being exploited and using tools, powers and laws to keep people in North Wales and across the border in England safe.



Winners of the Safeguarding Category

Safeguarding is about protecting people from all forms of harm and abuse.

Winner: Dyfed Powys Economic Crime Team from Dyfed Powys Police who manage all aspects of economic crime including fraud, cybercrime, money laundering, forgery, and counterfeiting.

By taking on the management of all fraud and cybercrime incidents reported to the force, the Economic Crime Team has not only reduced the strain on frontline officers but have gained positive feedback from victims within the community, with many commenting on the quality of service and reassurance they have received. They don’t signpost victims to Action Fraud but record all offences in Force and then report each individually to Action Fraud on behalf of the victim. This approach has received national recognition and praise, as it ensures victims of economic crime are supported and safeguarded on an individual basis. This allows a tailored package of support to ensure an effective and trusted service.

 Highly Commended: Swansea’s Contextual, Missing Exploited or Trafficked Panel, which is made up of Swansea Child and Family Services, Education, Housing, South Wales Police, Swansea Bay University Health Board, Barod/Choices, Media Academy Cymru and YMCA.

They that takes a solution focussed and strengths based approach to safeguarding children and young people outside of the family home by making the places and spaces they spend time at and in safer.

Winners of the VAWDASV Category

VAWDASV incorporates Violence Against Women and Girls, Domestic Abuse, Rape and Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment, Female Genital Mutilation, Honour based violence, Forced Marriage, Stalking, Trafficking and other forms of violence. All genders can be victims and/or perpetrators of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence.

Winner: Inspector Claire McGrady from North Wales Police who is the force lead for Violence Against Women and Girls.

Wrexham city centre was a hotspot in North Wales for specific Violence Against Women and Girls offences, spanning across the night-time economy surrounding the city centre where the public felt unsafe. Inspector McGrady was the lead policing representative who commenced a campaign of building a collaboration, relationships, and ultimate successful funding bids. Leading on the delivery of bystander training for all city centre licensed premises, the launch of Hafan y Dref Welfare Centre to operate on Fridays as well as Saturdays, Street Marshalls and preventative policing including schools programmes all of which has resulted in an improved and sustainable visible presence of officers, public engagement and dealing with dynamic incidents as they occur, such as Domestic related and Public Order in the city centre in order to deter and detect offences as well as directing vulnerable people to the right locations.

Highly Commended: West Wales Community Champions Programme a partnership led by the West Wales Domestic Abuse Services, alongside Calan Domestic Violence Service, Threshold, Montgomery Family Crisis Centre and Carmarthenshire Domestic Abuse Service.

The Champions educational programme raises awareness of stalking, harassment and hate crimes, working towards creating safer communities, encouraging participants to become Upstanders and report as appropriate. This has had a significant positive impact on the Mid and West Wales communities with increased awareness and confidence in tackling inappropriate behaviour including in the night-time economy.



Winners of the ASB Category

Anit-Social Behaviour is defined in law as “behaviour by a person which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to persons not of the same household as the person.” Incidents can appear small, unimportant, insignificant and leave people doubting themselves. Not all Anti-Social Behaviour is a crime, it can get progressively worse, last for a long time, and be very serious. The impact of ASB can include raised anxiety, fear, and leave individuals, families or people in communities feeling unsafe and unable to either leave their homes or access certain facilities or areas of their local communities.

Winner: Bridgend Community Safety Partnership which supports communities in Bridgend County Borough to be safe and cohesive.

They were nominated for a specific piece of partnership working. For many years a car park had been the subject of a lot of anti-social behaviour complaints, predominantly for vehicle ASB and youth annoyance being attracted to the predominantly sheltered space. A range of visual improvements were made to the location and a substantial street art project to make the area more vibrant, visually attractive and promote feelings of safety. The combination of these efforts has seen changes in use to the space which now hosts youth activities and family-friendly fitness workshops, benefitting physical and mental health and making the most of this improved, vibrant space. Most importantly, reports of ASB have significantly decreased.

Highly Commended: South Wales Police, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and Merthyr Valley Homes Registered Social Landlord.

The purpose of the Partnership intervention was to close an identified premises quickly which was being used to commit nuisance / disorder and criminality. To safeguard the community from further harm and to also safeguard the tenants of the address itself. Through the process a Partial Closure Order for a period of 3 months was obtained which prevents visitors attending the address, there have been no reports of nuisance, disorder, anti-social behaviour at the property or visitors attending.  This was achieved without making anyone homeless.


Winners of the ASB Category

Crime Prevention which the European Union Crime Prevention Network defines as “ethically acceptable and evidence-based activities aimed at reducing the risk of crime occurring and its harmful consequences with the ultimate goal of working towards the improvement of the quality of life and safety of individuals, groups and communities”.

Winner: We Don’t Buy Crime, North Wales Police Force working in partnership with OPCC and other partners.

Preventing crime by reducing the benefits to offenders of acquisitive crime, they work with a forensic marking provider of ‘Smart Water’ which enables property to be traced back to victims and criminals to be traced back to the crime. The tactic is known within the criminal fraternity, who acknowledge that it represents a genuine threat to them; it is highly effective as a deterrent within communities. All officers have UV torches as standard issue to check suspects and property for forensic marking, which ensures that all offenders and property that officers encounter are checked for Smart Water.

Highly Commended: Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales team for Raising Cyber Resilience across Wales with particular focus on micro businesses, small and midsize enterprises and third sector organisations.

In the past twelve months the team has visited over fifty different locations across Wales and delivered over one hundred workshops, engagement days and presentations at events. This has contributed to making businesses in Wales more resilient to attack from Cyber Criminals.

Winners of the Public Safety Category

Public Safety includes Fire Safety, Arson and Deliberate Fire Setting, Road Safety, Home Safety and Outdoors (including Water) Safety.

Winner: Builth Wells Events Safety Group led by Powys County Council.

The group has six main areas of focus – health and wellbeing, transport and infrastructure, licenced premises, open spaces, command and control, and communications (‘Have Fun, Take Care, Stay Safe’). This collaborative work not only assists in ensuring the safety of those visiting the event, but it leads to a reduction in 999 calls, hospital presentations, and arrests, preventing additional costs, and additional pressure on public services. Since the formation of the Group there have been no serious injuries or fatalities during the event. The strength of the partnership working, the pooling of resources, and the activities of the group have helped to protect finite public resources and deliver safer events.

Winners of the Early Intervention Category

Early intervention seeks to address the issues raised in a concern, to deal with the situation an individual faces by looking at the root causes.

Winner: Media Academy Cymru supporting Children and Young People in Wales to make better, safer decisions.

Media Academy Cymru currently run 17 specific community safety support services across Wales that seek to build victim empathy and change negative behaviours amongst children and young people at the earliest possible point. Working with nearly 60,000 children and young people over 15 years they have developed specific Welsh responses to community safety issues including Adolescent to Parent Violence, weapon and violence prevention, misogyny and violence to women and girls, diversionary activities to prevent re-offending and workers in health to respond to children subjected to violence.


Winners of the Organised Crime Category

Organised Crime is a significant and established national security threat and includes: smuggling and distribution of drugs and guns; sexual abuse of children through trafficking; cross-border trafficking and smuggling of people; exploitation of individuals; industrial-scale frauds; ransomware attacks; and the laundering of dirty money all causes harm to victims, individuals and communities.

Winner: Op Bridport and Op Goutweed – Neath Town Centre, Neath Neighbourhood Policing Team and Safer Neath Port Talbot Partnership.

The project has been chosen due to its impact on dismantling a County Line, the identification of exploiting young children (Op Bridport) and building resilient systems to prevent them re-establishing through increased and improved partnership work (Op Goutweed). Youth ASB and criminality was identified with added danger that Police had received intelligence of youths carrying knives and associates embedded in organised crime group activities. The County Line was completely dismantled and systems in place to stop its return. Crime rates within the Town Centre decreased with overall recorded crime down 15.9%. The most noticeable decrease was in criminal damage offences with a 47.2% reduction. There was a 20.6% reduction in commercial burglaries and an 11.8% reduction in ASB. An ongoing positive is that they now have a joined-up, robust process in place to deal with similar issues, revised systems and new procedures ensuring that they are viewed holistically should organised crime become an issue again.

Winners of the Offending and Justice Category

Offending and Justice which brings in the Criminal Justice system alongside the management of offenders in general.

Joint Winners: North Wales Police Law enforcement first response and investigation team and Integrated Offender Management housing project Dyfed Powys.

Joint Winner: North Wales Police Law enforcement first response and investigation team for Operation Blue Spinel.

An investigation into a series of residential burglaries which occurred during the afternoon and evening on 6th February 2023, across a number of communities in Conwy and Denbighshire.  The investigation encompassed several parallel investigations into burglary dwelling offences occurring across North Wales, committed by an organised group. Detective Constables Sean Harrison and Stuart Goldsack led the investigation team. Anne-Marie Fisher’s analytical work allowed the team to investigate the linked offices effectively. The hallmarks of the investigation were the excellent team-working, and subsequent partnership work with the Crown Prosecution Service , which led to an extremely positive outcome for many victims.

Joint Winner: Integrated Offender Management housing project Dyfed Powys The IOM team in Ceredigion identified accommodation as the key need amongst the cohort to attempt to break the offending cycle.

The Police team identify and manage the referrals for the property. HMPPS support individuals whilst in the accommodation. Barcud, the housing association, provide the property on a license arrangement. The Care Society provide housing management and support to the individuals. The Local Authority support the initiative and treat individuals using the property as homeless and in temporary accommodation enabling them to access move on options. Wraparound support is also provided. The project was established in 2021 and to date, no offenders involved have committed any further offences.



Winners of the Serious Violence Category

Serious Violence which includes homicide, knife crime, and gun crime and areas of criminality where serious violence or its threat is inherent.

The partnership aims to reduce harm caused to individuals and communities by serious violence and organised crime through the four Ps Prepare; Protect; Prevent; and Pursue. The key element of the interventions is trusted adult support and delivering inputs, raising awareness and resilience to the threats. Over 600 children, young people and vulnerable adults have been offered a variety of targeted interventions. It has been independently evaluated by Aberystwyth University which showed that INTACT had demonstrated a measurable impact.

Winners of the Partnerships Category

Where there are good partnerships then the partnership is a team, a shared soul. If you’re in a partnership, you’re in an agreement, so when they’re not with you, you’re still connected and working towards a mutual goal.

Joint Winners: On-Track’ in Cardiff and Môn Actif Community Programme on Anglesey.

Joint Winner: ‘On-Track’ in Cardiff

‘On-Track’ Equipping offenders with the employment skills to begin well paid employment within the rail industry and to keep their lives and futures ‘on-track’. A 3 month’s course is run with delegates identified through the offender management team within South Wales Police and where Probation also nominate candidates where it is thought further offending might be avoided by this project approach. Partners include South Wales Police, Cardiff Council, Probation, Department of Work and Pensions, Network Rail, Vital Rail, Ganymeade Solutions, Absolute training and assessing and Dyfodol.

Joint Winner: Môn Actif Community Programme Partners include Anglesey County Council, North Wales Police, Youth Services, Streetgames, Children and Young Peoples Services and RNLI (Water Safety).

Môn Actif provides various opportunities to children, young people and adults of all ages and abilities in various settings including schools, colleges, clubs, communities and leisure centres with the main objective of creating a healthier, happier and more active Anglesey. By collaborating and working with key partners the impact on community cohesion, community safety and creating more opportunities that significantly contribute to reducing Anti Social Behaviour has been clear to see across Anglesey. Activities have included mountain biking, surfing, and paddle boarding, self defence for women and girls, football and basketball just to name a few and water safety education into educational settings. The young people have kept coming week in week out.

Highly Commended: Safer Swansea Christmas Chalet.

Swansea Council’s Community Safety Co-ordinator, Paul Evans implemented and manages a month long Safer Swansea Partnership chalet throughout December. The chalet is available for all Safer Swansea partners to utilise in order to conduct surveys, cascade important community / personal safety messages to the public as well as engage with vulnerable groups and perpetrators. Operational outlets in the vicinity as well as city centre rangers report a significant reduction in Anti-Social Behaviour, criminal damage and shop lifting.


Overview of the Safer Communities Awards

Across Wales Community Safety Partnerships and other partners are working individually and together so that everyone in Wales feels safe and free from the fear of exploitation, crime and disorder. This work is often carried out quietly and by a small number of people who have a passion for making a difference to individuals, families and communities.

The Safer Communities Awards are being held to recognise outstanding contributions to community safety in a multi-agency context. The afternoon event will be celebratory in spirit and recognise those who have had a real impact on people’s lives throughout the year.

As well as recognising individual’s efforts and collaborative projects and partnerships, this will also provide a spotlight for awardees, colleagues and wider community safety professionals that their hard work is valued and makes a real difference to individuals and communities across Wales.