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Police report violent crime in 2019 ‘edges upwards’ in Swansea city centre

VIOLENT crime in Swansea’s Wind Street and surrounding area crept up in 2019 after falling for three consecutive years.

Figures from South Wales Police show there were 246 incidents of violent crime in Wind Street and six lanes leading off, or parallel, to it.

More than half of these occurred between midnight and 4 am on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night. Wednesday nights are a popular student night out.

The corresponding figure was 230 in 2018, down from 284 in 2017 and 312 in 2016.

Speaking at a licensing sub-committee meeting on September 1, PC Jon Hancock said all levels of crime remained significant in the area despite the efforts of police and other organisations to manage the city’s night-time economy.

Policing the Wind Street area, he said, took officers away from communities in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot between 6 pm and 6 am on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, along with other officers from across the division.

“This has a substantial impact on the policing of communities in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, and in financial terms costs in excess £500,000 to resource,” said PC Hancock.

Incident numbers are likely to be lower this year due to coronavirus lockdown and social distancing measures.

Crime overall has consistently fallen in Wind Street and the surrounding area – from 776 incidents in 2016 to 564 last year. On busy nights thousands of people flock there.

But PC Hancock said levels of crime nevertheless remained “significant”, particularly at peak times between midnight and 4 am.

The area, however, has regularly been awarded Purple Flag status, meaning it is considered a vibrant, safe and diverse place for an evening out.

Worse-for-wear revellers are helped on certain nights at Swansea Help Point, The Strand, which is staffed by a nurse, paramedics, St John Ambulance volunteers, police officers, street pastors and student volunteers.

The facility costs £1,000 per night to run and looks after around 1,000 people each year.

Some bars on Wind Street have closed or changed hands, with the now defunct Liberate – formerly Revolution – the subject of a new premises licence application.

Council chiefs are keen to nurture more of a day-time and family-friendly offering on Wind Street, which is now virtually traffic-free as part of a six-month trial.

Venues are being encouraged to put tables and chairs outside.

The measures are helping to rejuvenate Wind Street, according to a member of staff at the long-established No Sign Bar.

“Every pub has adapted in a positive way,” he said. “I think people prefer sitting outside.”

He added that the restaurant side of the business was going well.

“We are always busier for food,” he said.

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