Wind Street bars could be stripped of licences if disorder continues
BARS and clubs on Swansea's party street could be stripped of their licences if disorder continues, it has been warned.
The spotlight has fallen on Wind Street since it was branded the second worst street in England and Wales for crime.
A new online mapping service showed 148 incidents on the street in December, and Swansea's most senior police officer, Mark Mathias, admitted the area was a "significant problem" for his officers.
Now a warning has gone out from councillor Nick Tregoning, who is the chairman of a new group called Health Challenge Swansea, which brings together the local authority, health services and police.
The group will combine a twin-track health and policing approach to the problems — with the ultimate sanction of taking licences off individuals or premises being available to them.
Mr Tregoning said: "We intend to bear down on substance misuse — not just drugs like cocaine, but also alcohol.
"We are going to identify problem premises and begin by offering advice and help — but be in no doubt that we have the power to take licenses away from individuals and from premises, closing them permanently."
As part of its work, the group will be collecting a range of data connected to bars and clubs in the city centre — from customers' trips and falls through to incidents of criminality, violence, and adherence to licence conditions.
The research will be used to identify problem premises — and to provide detailed information to licensing authorities.
The crime mapping website — www.police.uk — has been criticised for the limited data is shows and for the effects it might have on house prices in crime "hotspots".
The Post has seen a detailed breakdown of the figures behind the headline numbers for Wind Street during December, and it shows there were 91 recorded crimes in the 31 days.
The other 57 reported incidents were of antisocial behaviour, some of which may have also resulted in crimes being recorded, and so were effectively double counted. Such recorded incidents can range from a group of revellers being refused entry to a club to a full-scale brawl.
Of the 91 crimes, five were for serious assaults, 11 were for assaults occasioning actual bodily harm, 17 for public order offences — such as swearing — and three for possessing cocaine. There were also 45 reports of theft, and many of these are thought to relate to a two-day spree when mobile phones and cameras were taken from revellers in bars and clubs. During December police made some 48 arrests as a result of incidents in Wind Street.
The immediate area of Wind Street boasts 20 bars and pubs — with a capacity of more than 16,500 people — as well as restaurants, fast-food outlets, two hotels, and other facilities, and attracts people from across South West Wales.
Yesterday's story on the figures prompted dozens of comments from readers on the Post's website, some saying the police were not doing enough to tackle the disorder, with others saying the police were doing all they could, and that the loutishness was a wider social problem.
Some readers bemoaned the fact Wind Street had not lived up to the "café quarter" future that was hoped for when many of the banks and other businesses left the street, while one person — styling himself "Spidey Jones" — called on fellow readers to give youngsters a break.