OFFICERS were back out on the beat in Wrexham on Saturday night to stamp out any alcohol fueled town centre trouble. And Leader reporter Rory Sheehan stepped out with officers to see how Wrexham’s nigh-time economy was policed.
THE booze was flowing and Wrexham’s town centre was livening up for another Saturday night.
The collaboration between North Wales Police (NWP) and pubs and clubs is helping to a town to shake off Wrexham’s reputation as a weekend trouble hotspot, according to top officers.
The Nightsafe partnership sees police officers patrol Wrexham town centre and work closely with landlords and nightspot owners to ensure disturbance is kept to a minimum.
On Saturday night, the Leader was invited along to see how the link-up worked, and how NWP dealt with any trouble.
The evening began at the station with a briefing at 7pm.
Town centre sergeant Gareth Davies said: “The purpose of us doing this is to prevent disorder early on in the town centre and provide high visability to help with the night economy.”
Among the powers available to the officers are section 27 notices, which ban people from certain areas of the town for up to 48 hours.
Town centre inspector Paul Wycherley added: “The majority of people are here in the town centre for a legitimate purpose and we want them to be free from those who want to fight and cause trouble.
“You need to be fair, but firm.”
Special constables then paired up with PCSOs and headed into town.
Positioned in the High Street, PC Wayne Pugh said: “The atmosphere is usually great.
“You can sense trouble when people get out of taxis if you can tell they’ve had a skinful, and some don’t necessarily come for trouble.
“The Section 27 really helps us, especially over Christmas and New Year.
“We are here to meet and greet people to the town and be a friendly, reassuring face as much as anything.”
Sgt Davies said that the police have had to adapt to a changing culture.
He said: “People’s drinking habits have changed. Pubs are now a bit more expensive so people are drinking at home before they go out, not getting into town until 11pm.
“We have to arrange night shifts to cover the clubs which can be open until 4am or 5am.”
Alex Jones, who runs the Bank wine bar and South nightclub in town praised the Nightsafe partnerhsip, which has been running since October. He said: “It’s working. We’ve got a good relationship with the police. Communication is strong and it really is a partnership.
“The town gets a lot of unfair bad press but Wrexham is one of the safest nights out you can have.
“The police presence is good, there is CCTV and security and doorstaff are very professional these days. They aren’t old fashioned heavies, they are meeters and greeters.”
After a relatively quiet night, insp Wycherley hailed the success of the operation. He said: “There was one assault, in Hill Street at 4.09am, and although one assault is one too many for us, it has been a good night.
“It was busy, we estimate there were around 1,600 people here, whose priority was to come and enjoy themselves.
“We’re adamant that if we get it right in the earlier part of the night, then that sets the tone for the rest of it.”