WREXHAM’S night-time economy is most certainly back open for business.

We joined police on a lively Friday night in the town centre as it welcomed thousands of people to Focus Wales.

For the last six weeks, Sgt Danny Rees has been working on a project looking at the town's night time economy; in terms of what works well and what can be improved.

He has been a police officer for more than 12 years, the majority of which he has spent in Wrexham.

I started by asking him what sort of challenges officers encounter when policing the town centre on a Friday and Saturday night in particular.

"Obviously intoxication brings its challenges," he said.

"Like any similar sized town or city, there are elements of drug use as well, which goes hand-in-hand with a lot of the night time economy.

"Then there is the impact of those things later in the night when people fall out with each other.

"We work closely with our partners including door staff, the Nightsafe and Pubwatch groups - which most premises in the town centre are members of - the CCTV operators and the Street Pastors.

"What we want is a safe, happy, vibrant town centre where people can come out and have a nice time and a successful evening.

"The licensed premises want to see plenty of us out with high visibility throughout the evening, which is what we strive to achieve with the resources we have."

Sergeant Rees explained there would normally be seven officers and a Sergeant on the night time economy operation, but owing to the increased activity with Focus Wales, that weekend there had been an uplift of three officers.

He continued: "It doesn't seem like a lot but in the last six weeks I have been to other forces and have seen how we really punch above our weight in the number of officers we put out for a town of our size."

However, officers have discretion in how they approach situations and have to strategically decide how best to apply themselves - or seek help from partners.

While we walked around the town, Sgt Rees came across a man who had fallen asleep on the street after seemingly consuming alcohol.

He called in the town's Street Pastors, led by Gareth Jones, to help the man.

They were able to give him water, a lollipop and some company until he felt a bit better and could make his way out of the town centre.

Street Pastor Ian Evans said: "This is the kind of thing we come and do.

"If the police need any help we are here and we just make sure people are well.

"They might have had too much alcohol, or be upset if they have lost a friend somewhere, or they might be frustrated.

"We're there to comfort them."

Sgt Rees said the man was a good example of how partners help to keep police officers free to deal with more serious incidents, adding: "He was obviously vulnerable through intoxication.

"We can't just leave him there and we wouldn't want to leave him there.

"If the Street Pastors weren't out, that would have been a pair of officers dealing with him when they might be needed elsewhere."

He explained the town's door staff are very "switched on" when it comes to tackling drugs and weapons; both of which he said are not common occurrences.

"I can say with certainty that people are not routinely carrying weapons in the town centre," he said.

"It's not unheard of but it's rare."

Some venues, such as Atik, also have knife arches to detect such items, he said.

On the subject of drugs, he added: "We're probably better than many places I'd suggest, and we look at it and discuss it periodically in our nightsafe meetings about having a passive drugs dog come to the town centre to scan people as a deterrent.

"The bars have their own search policies for letting people in, but we don't come across a lot of drugs in a typical working night.

"The town centre is covered fantastically by CCTV and the operators are second to none.

"If we do have any people with drugs, we have a process called Checkpoint Cymru, which they can be referred to for drug education as opposed to a criminal conviction."

Speaking about the change in people's behaviour since covid rules have been reduced, he added: "People have 100 per cent come back to the town centre.

"With the age demographic that is coming out, they seem quite happy to be up close and personal and mixing again; that was from day one when the big venues re-opened.

"The advice now is to limit 'vertical drinking' - which is standing up and drinking.

"People are encouraged to take a seat and venues aren't to be too crowded, but there's no hard and fast definitions of these things, so it's very much what people feel comfortable with.

"A lot of venues, like The Bank, have changed the way they operate to serve more food and it's worked well for them."

The Wrexham Town Police night time economy operation is currently making preparations for Christmas, with typical hotspots targeted and the number of officers to see another "uplift" to compensate for the additional visitors to the town.

Alex Jones, of the Bank, told me: "Taking a proactive partnership approach is key; and it works.

"From the people watching over the CCTV to door staff, management of the venues and the police, we speak and can intervene where necessary before anything develops."

Sgt Rees concluded: "I can say hand on heart, as someone who has worked as a police officer here and lived here, and worked in the bars myself, I feel safe to come out and drink in Wrexham."