Posted: Fri 30th Jun 2023

Fresh premises licences in Swansea will have to show they dont increase demand on policing

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jun 30th, 2023

Police want owners of bars and other late-night venues in Swansea city centre to demonstrate that their venues don’t create a cumulative impact when they apply for new licenses. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Although data up to 2021-22 shows a reduction in violent and anti-social behaviour incidents in areas such as Wind Street and The Kingsway, police chiefs fear that a relaxation of the licensing rules would lead to more late-night drinking establishments and a resulting increase on officer demands. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Now, following a consultation, they have asked Swansea Council to re-introduce a so-called cumulative impact policy. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

South Wales Police said in a submission to the council that any expansion of the late-night economy would have consequences for policing, and that these consequences would be felt throughout the force’s Swansea and Neath Port Talbot division. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The submission said: “The bottom line is that when venues close their doors and customers leave, responsibility to manage the situation on the streets rests firmly with police, being the lead agency and only agency consistently present late at night, hence a framework to regulate this environment is welcome.”
Swansea Council first adopted a cumulative impact policy for several city centre streets in 2013. It was amended later, and should have been reviewed again in April 2021. But this didn’t happen because of the Covid pandemic, and the policy lapsed. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A report going before full council on July 6 explained that the proposed new policy, if approved, would require applicants for new or varied premises licences to show that their application and proposed operation would not add to the cumulative impact of the area. If they can’t, the application would be refused.
The report said the policy would not change the fundamental way that licensing decisions were made, and that the council couldn’t simply refuse an application because there was already a high concentration of late-night
venues in a particular area. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It added that the policy would apply for venues open from 1am onwards and would not impose quotas based on either the number of premises or their capacity. Councillors are being recommended to reintroduce it.
The policy would apply to Wind Street and a number of streets nearby, to The Kingsway and a number of streets nearby, and also High Street and College Street.
Wind Street is the main focus of late-night police patrols. Its character has changed since Covid with the introduction of more outdoor seating, greenery and the exclusion of vehicles, except deliveries. Police said the outdoor seating areas had, however, helped created more pinch-points when people queued to get into venues, which risked an increase in disorder. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Most late-night police patrols on Saturdays and Wednesdays – when students are out in force – usually involve 12 constables and a sergeant. Police chiefs said their presence on these nights reduced the force’s overall response and neighbourhood policing capacity. The submission also said their numbers tended to decrease into the small hours as they became tied up with incidents.
A dedicated help point at The Strand, which runs parallel to Wind Street, was established eight years ago to treat intoxicated revellers and those with minor injuries. It has helped treat more than 6,000 people in that time and costs around £1,000 per night to operate. City centre rangers and taxi marshals also help out late at night. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report before full council said there had been a 31% reduction in overall incidents in Wind Street between 2017-18 and 2021-22. The figures for The Kingsway and High Street were a 45% and 13% decrease respectively. There was a massive drop during the Covid pandemic when hospitality venues were closed for long periods, and a rebound afterwards. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A number of late-night operators have said Wind Street is more relaxed than it used to be.  Speaking in 2022, Jack Collins, deputy manager of Wind Street venue Jack Murphys, said: “I remember the ideas the council originally had for Wind Street and it feels a lot closer to what they wanted now as they had planned 20 years ago. It’s far better now.  Hopefully Wind Street will just carry on improving.”
The police submission, meawhile, said officers were also deployed to Uplands and SA1, which have a number of popular bars. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Consideration has been given to submitting data in relation to emerging areas such as Uplands, SA1 and Mumbles, however, as has been demonstrated in this report Wind Street continues to be the main area of police demand in the evening and night-time economy and is the area where cumulative impact is most felt,” it said.
Swansea has for years had so-called Purple Flag status – a scheme denoting a vibrant, diverse and safe city centre. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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