'We can fix Wind Street' says Swansea's top police officer
SWANSEA'S top police officer has promised his force is doing everything it can to make the city's party heartland a safer place to be.
The reassurance follows the release of surprise figures which branded Wind Street as the second worst in the UK for all crime.
Chief Superintendent Mark Mathias admitted that drunkenness and disorder along the road which is home to 30 or so pubs and restaurants is a "significant problem".
He also acknowledged that policing the area was a big drain on his resources.
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But he said he wanted to reassure the public his officers were doing everything they could to make the area safe.
As part of the crackdown, the coming weeks will see ten extra officers permanently transferred into the city centre — at the expense of numbers in Gorseinon, Penlan, Morriston, Gower and the city's Eastside.
His comments come after the launch of a new crime mapping website — www.police.uk — which allows people to see the levels of reported crime on individual streets for forces across the country.
The site shows Wind Street has the second highest level of incidents of any street in England and Wales, with some 148 recorded in December.
Mr Mathias said: "I acknowledge that Wind Street is a significant problem for the police — that is evidenced in the figures.
"But I want to reassure the public that we are doing everything we possibly can to address it.
"We know that we have high demand in Wind Street — we have to take into account the number of licensed entertainment venues."
The immediate area of Wind Street can cater for up 16,500 people — with its pubs, restaurants, fast-food outlets, two hotels, and other facilities.
As part of the crackdown on rowdy behaviour, the Post understands police are looking at ways of turning groups of drunken revellers away from the area before they even get to Wind Street, while there is also going to be a greater input from the health service in helping to determine licences for premises. The Post has seen a breakdown of the figures for Wind Street during December, and they show 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 young men 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 and three for possessing cocaine.
There were also 45 reports of theft — 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. Three people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Mike Darrel, duty manager at the Peppermint bar, said: "I think there is always going to be trouble where there is nightlife, and I suppose that is a reflection of the people who are out on the street. But police do the best they can — they try to prevent trouble and they do make arrests. I would still say it is a safe place for a night out".