North Wales Police have said ‘Wrexham town centre will continue to be seen as a safe place to have a night out’ after a successful festive period in the town.
Thousands of people descended upon Wrexham town centre throughout December to take part in the festive celebrations. The Christmas period saw North Wales Police work in partnership with Wrexham County Borough Council and the Crime reduction partnership to cut down on anti-social behaviour in town.
One of the most popular events in the festive calender is ‘Mad’ or ‘Festive’ Friday, which is generally the last pay day and Friday before Christmas. Around 4000 people attended the clubs in town on this particular day.
In a bid to stop anti-social behaviour officers were out and about on foot patrol early in the evening, and anyone who was behaving in an anti-social manner was issued with a notice banning them from the town centre for a period of up to 48 hours.
This particular method was introduced last October, when North Wales Police changed the ‘weekend policing model for the town’.
Speaking about ‘Festive Friday’, Sergeant Wycherley said: “This is an effective preventative measure which has been seen to work well since we changed the weekend policing model for the town last October, when we started to issue these notices in high numbers. Since then, many more officers patrol the night time economy than was previously the case and a notable decrease in the level of assaults reported has been noted; indeed in November not one assault was recorded from the town centre on a Friday or Saturday night.
“The whole point of this part of the exercise is to do our utmost to ensure that those who are likely to cause trouble later in the evening are excluded from town early on.”
There were some incidents of disorder on ‘Festive Friday’, with five assaults reported. This compares with 14 over the festive weekend last year.
Wrexham council owned CCTV was also over the festive period, with operators spotting areas where public order issues may be brewing, and also persons using illegal drugs. These were notified via radio to patrolling officers who made swift arrests. Regular Twitter updates were also sent out by those patrolling the town centre.
Sgt Wycherley said: “The goal is for zero instances but as it was estimated that over 4000 patrons were in the town during this week-ends night time economy this will of course be a very real challenge. However, as the figures show, the likelihood of being a victim of such a crime in Wrexham town centre is statistically very low indeed.
“However, I am aware that a tiny minority misbehave in a way that has sometimes impacted on the safety of others. Consequently we policed the festive weekend in quite a robust way with an increase in uniformed officers on patrol in the town centre.”
The festive period also saw a clamp down on underage drinkers and party goers in the town. In a bid to prevent those under the age of 18 from using the nightclubs, school liaison officers were drafted in to help identify anyone under the age of 18.
Sgt Wycherley said: “When this occurred, I contacted parents by telephone then ensured the children and young people were safely returned home.”
Over the ‘key dates’ in town, a Christmas Welfare Centre was opened in the old Peppers club on Bridge Street. The Centre was open from 7:30pm and here ambulance staff, street pastors, police, nurses and British red cross volunteers were on hand to provide assistance to those in need.
Sgt Wycherley said: “This assistance ranged from persons who had consumed too much drink having a safe area in which to sit and sober up, to a lady who had cut her foot and who was swiftly collected from High Street by ambulance staff and taken to the centre for triage and treatment.
“The Nightsafe members have been incredibly supportive indeed; the licensees religiously challenge the age of persons attempting to enter premises, the tolerance level for anti-social behaviour has been lowered and there is a better atmosphere in the town as a result. It is a fact that there is one team working together in a united aim for a safer Wrexham.
“Working with our community safety partnership partners and Wrexham town centre licensees, we are absolutely determined that Wrexham town centre will continue to be seen as a safe place to have a night out.”
(We were trying to get a festive ‘Po Po Po’ in the headline, but opted against it!)