A policing chief has joined bobbies on the beat in Wrexham to see how lives are being saved on the streets of North Wales’s biggest town.
The Safer Streets project in the town was launched with funding s North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin to make Wrexham town centre safer for weekend revellers.
Now Safer Streets Three has brought half a million pounds of extra funding to extend the scheme and the Commissioner joined Police Inspector Claire McGrady to see how the money is being spent.
A big part of the campaign is aimed particularly at protecting women and girls and on Friday and Saturday nights.
It also sees a four-strong team of Wrexham’s own guardian angels, Street Marshals trained in first aid, walking the streets and helping man the Hafan y Dref contact centre at the foot of Town Hill.
There have also been extra police patrols, including officers in plain clothes, in the town centre and trees, hedges and undergrowth cut back to improve walking routes out of the town, CCTV cameras installed, extra lighting in the town centre and even training for licensees to help them spot people who may be vulnerable.
Inspector McGrady said: “It has literally saved people’s lives. We had people who have been injured or taken ill and been treated quickly in the centre and without the need to call out an emergency ambulance.
“The Street Marshals have just started and we’d like to encourage people to approach them and engage with them and chat with them because they are ambassadors for the town.
“There are four of them provided by Parallel Security and they are working in partnership with Events Medical who have trained them
“We want to encourage people to enjoy the night-time economy here in Wrexham and at the same time to feel safe and to know there is a reassuring presence on the streets.
“We want the town to be bustling and busy and to have a thriving night-time economy because it is a really good place for a night out.”
Andy Dunbobbin said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to secure extra funding for what is already proving to be a very positive scheme which has already had a real effect in making Wrexham a safer place for a good night out.
“This is going to become increasingly important as the pandemic lockdown restrictions ease and hopefully more people venture out to enjoy themselves in towns across North Wales.
“This is an excellent example of partnership working between North Wales Police and Wrexham Borough Council and of course with local licensees who are receiving bystander training.
“This will give them the confidence to intervene if they see tell-tale signs of harassment and while it is still at a low level and it gives customers the confidence to complain if there is any harassment, sexual or otherwise.
“We’re determined in North Wales to do all we can to protect people and keep our streets safe.
“We want people to be able to enjoy themselves sensibly and to get home safely and we believe that extra eyes on the streets can make a difference and so can making our streets better lit and having trained help and support available.”
The Safer Streets pilot was originally run by Northumbria Police in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in 2019 and proved a big success, with a 30 per cent reduction in rapes and serious sexual assaults in the city centre.
North Wales Police were the first force in Wales to run it themselves and the latest rounds of funding secured by the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner takes the amount being spent to over £1 million.
Mr Dunbobbin added: “We want to showcase what we are doing here in Wrexham and share it across North Wales so that other towns can benefit as well.
“There are a number of reasons a person can become vulnerable, including excess alcohol, getting lost, or becoming separated from friends and in Wrexham there will be people out on the streets and in the pubs and clubs looking out for them and keeping them safe.”