The Chief Constable of South Wales Police is apologising to the residents of Mayhill in Swansea for the operational police response to an evening of disorder on 20th May 2021.
It was clear from the incident and from footage circulated on social media that local residents were worried for their own safety and for the safety of their homes and property in what was a frightening incident for the community.
Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan said:
“I want to apologise to all those who have been affected by this incident and particularly those local residents who were tormented by those responsible. We failed to take action quickly enough on the night and for that I am truly sorry.
"We have made some immediate improvements to our operational practices following this incident including how we manage information around an escalating incident and how we draw upon resource from across South Wales and beyond more quickly.”
The force has from the start recognised the concerns expressed by the community regarding the response to the incident and undertook an internal review. Several areas where lessons could be learned were identified immediately. This was followed by the Independent Learning Review commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable jointly with the Leader and Chief Executive of Swansea Council with support from Welsh Government to examine what happened on the night, what may have caused it and to identify any opportunities for learning.
While a thorough criminal investigation has continued, local police have been working with the local authority, community leaders, residents and other partners to support those affected and to restore confidence after the incident.
At the same time intensive work has gone on to identify who did what on the night and to bring those who participated in the disturbances to justice. The criminal investigations have resulted in files being submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service and charging decisions are expected shortly.
The criminal acts committed on this night triggered a large police investigation which has involved the taking of 118 statements and officers have viewed over 600 multi-media video clips ranging in length from 11 seconds to 12 minutes in duration. Officers have examined every piece of this footage together with reviewing more than 23 hours of CCTV and body worn footage.
This detailed and complex investigation has involved a team of experienced detectives and resulted in 46 arrests and South Wales Police is currently awaiting a charging decision from the Crown Prosecution Service on a total of 37 individuals involved in the disorder.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Travis, who oversaw the initial operational review following the incident, said:
“I know the community wants to see those responsible for these terrible events brought to justice and I would like to personally thank those who have assisted our investigation so far and we are hopeful of a charging decision from the Crown Prosecution Service in the very near future following a comprehensive investigation into what went on.
“A large group of individuals were involved in shocking scenes of disorder which led to vehicles being set alight and a number of residents feeling terrified in their own homes and in need of help and support.
“Our response to that incident was reviewed internally and has now been the subject of the Independent Learning Review which has concluded that there were areas where our response on the night fell short of our usual high standards and the expectations of the community. A number of areas of learning have been highlighted in relation to our response and we fully accept the findings of the review.
“We are determined that our learning from this event will continue as we use the recommendations of the Independent Learning Review with oversight from the College of Policing so that we can fully understand how events unfolded on the night and take appropriate action.
“South Wales Police has an excellent reputation for policing major sporting and other international events. We have well-trained officers who have the skills to deal with the most challenging of incidents which makes it all the more frustrating that on this occasion we recognise that we got our response wrong, something which we fully accept.
“The local policing team in Swansea is committed to providing the best level of service to the community of Mayhill and will continue to work with residents, partners and organisations to ensure we keep them safe."
The response from the Police and Crime Commissioner can be found here
The response from Swansea Council can be found here