Waun Wen Road, Mayhill Disturbance Independent Learning Review - Report of the Panel.
We have undertaken an “Independent Learning Review” as defined by the Terms of Reference attached. These Terms of Reference had been carefully scoped and agreed by the commissioning parties, namely South Wales Police (“the Police”), the Police and Crime Commissioner (“the Commissioner”) and Swansea City Council (“The Council”).
In summary, our task was to assess the internal debriefs written respectively by the Police and the Council. We were asked to “scrutinise and challenge those debriefs”. This is what we have done. We were not asked to conduct an investigation or inquiry and the aims, remit and objectives of our terms of appointment were limited as to time, resource and scope.
We were directed to “focus on the effectiveness of both the individual organisations and joint working arrangements between the respective services both prior to, during and after the events on the 20th May 2021 and in this respect…seek to identify issues that can be considered in terms of future joint learning and consideration of future practice in relation to the following ... areas:
What underlying factors may have led to, or affected preparedness, for the incident;
What was known before the incident and can intelligence gathering be improved;
What was the response and was it appropriate and can the approach be improved;
What was done after the incident in terms of recovery and ongoing ”
Our Terms of Reference expressly exclude ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions, any civil, criminal or other liabilities and any question of individual misconduct.
The views, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this report are unanimously held by the three members of the panel: Jack Straw (former Chief Executive of Swansea City Council), Martin Jones (retired Chief Superintendent of South Wales Police) and Professor Elwen Evans QC (Chair).
Our draft Report was shared with the commissioning parties in December 2021. We have had the benefit of further engagement with the parties. This report reflects our finalised views based on additional submissions shared with us.
We want to express our gratitude to the many people and organisations that have played such an important part in assisting us to carry out our work. We could not have undertaken our task without the invaluable contributions made by a wide range of stakeholders.
A number of factors are likely to have contributed to the events that occurred on Waun Wen Road in the Mayhill Area of Swansea on the 20th May, 2021. These include (but are not limited to) the effects of Covid lockdowns, social media narratives, criminal behaviours, socio-economic dynamics, and reactions to the tragic death of Ethan Powell. Any meaningful analysis of these factors and their impacts on local, national and, in some instances, global behaviours are extraordinarily complex matters for research, reflection and public debate. There can be no simple or simplistic answers. It is evident that the range of challenges currently faced by Local Authorities and Policing agencies are exceptional and pose unprecedented challenges.
The adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent lockdowns have been identified throughout our engagements: these include impact upon the public and communities, disproportionate impact on children and young people, on policing and the police, on the Council’s work and engagements and upon partnership working between agencies. However, no-one has suggested to us that Covid was the sole or primary cause of the events on Waun Wen Road.
Any assessment of events on the 20th May 2021 must start with a recognition that criminal responsibility sits with the adults and young people who committed criminal offences. As criminal responsibility was excluded from our remit we have not seen the evidence and/or unused material packages provided to the Crown Prosecution Service in the preparation of the criminal case(s). We were shown a compilation of some visual materials prepared for the purpose of the criminal investigation. This was relatively short and inevitably selective. It has become increasingly evident that there is a substantial body of material held by the police and/or the Crown Prosecution Service. Access to of all of these materials is necessary for a fully informed understanding of what occurred and to enable an appraisal not only of criminal liability but also of events and decision making in real time. We would suggest that consideration of this material forms part of the full investigation that we recommend (see below).
Whilst outside of our Terms of Reference it is clearly in the best interests of all involved that criminal prosecution(s) are prioritised and progressed as expeditiously as possible.
Acknowledging the culpability of criminal suspects cannot deflect from the need to consider and assess the responsibilities and responses of the relevant authorities in their dealings with this incident. It is also important to note that the respective roles and responsibilities of the Police and Council are substantially different and, inevitably, lead to different considerations and conclusions.
The police took decisions on police conduct issues and referrals at an early stage. This observation is not by way of seeking to ascribe blame. That is not our function and, in any event, we could not do so on the basis of the limited material available to us. There is a risk that the apparent speed of this decision-making is seen as an indication of the limited extent of the initial police reflection on their responses to events on 20th May, 2021. We understand that the ethos of the Police Conduct Regulations introduced in February 2020 is intended to encourage a culture of learning and development for individuals and the organisation. This serves to emphasise the importance of effective internal learning reviews in helping to shape and deliver that culture of learning and development.
Public perceptions and direct engagement with those affected
Whilst there was no fatality or serious physical injury (there was, of course, psychological and emotional harm as well as damage to property) the criminal behaviours on that night presented a significant threat to life and to property. The response of the police to those behaviours is inescapably at the heart of any review of the events that took place.
It will come as no surprise to note the strong feelings of many people who have spoken with us. It is important to repeat some of those views as they provide a context for this review and for a full investigation. There was a protracted period during which the residents of Waun Wen Road were in danger, at risk and unprotected by the police. There was evident raw emotion and distress in the re-living of experiences of that night and its aftermath. Some of the views shared with us include the following: “the police let us down”, “they didn’t protect us,” “they failed to protect us”, “they weren’t there for us when we needed them,” and “we don’t understand why they didn’t do anything”. It is clear that there is a significant job of work for the police to do in seeking to re-establish trust and confidence in the aftermath of this incident. Doing so must be predicated on a full, open and transparent understanding of what went wrong that night.
We were provided with a report by South Wales Police dated 16/8/21 entitled “Individual Agency Learning Review”. Its first paragraph reads as follows:
“This report relates to the events that occurred on the 20th May 2021 and specifically to the operational policing response to the same. The purpose of this report is therefore to provide an information briefing/interim position to the independent learning review. In terms of the enquiries undertaken to date regarding the policing response element (sic). It is acknowledged that this report does not address the wider partnership working aspects to be considered by the independent learning review”.
The report is but 32 pages long, of which 5 pages are a Glossary of Abbreviations used within the report. The “Description of the Incident” section covers 6 pages and contains partial and selected extracts of some limited material. Inevitably, therefore, the factual analysis is also partial and several assertions raise questions rather than provide answers. Most of the materials supplied with the report post-date the 20th May, 2021. The Police Report concludes with a section described as recommendations.
These are numbered 1 to 8.
We have recently been told by the police that another internal police report had been written about the handling of the incident but that a decision was taken not to disclose it within this review process. There may be excellent reasons for this decision. We would, however, advise that a future investigation would benefit from having access to all potentially relevant materials, assessments and reports.
We were provided with a report by Swansea Council dated 19/8/21. It is described as “A Review of the Main Findings, Recommendations and Learning from the incident in Mayhill on the 20th May 2021”. The preparation of this report included consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. It runs to 141 pages including Appendices, 1 page being a Glossary of Terms. It contains 27 recommendations.
We met with local residents, teachers and organisations. We received the views of children and young people. We are very grateful that accounts and views were shared with us in clear, compelling and forthright ways. As many people did not want their names publicised for fear of repercussions we consider it best not to name any of the public who chose to speak with us. However their accounts and experiences will come as no surprise to those who are familiar with the events of that night.
We had meetings with Council employees and Councillors and received additional views and materials in those meetings. We felt able to scrutinise and challenge the Council Report so as to undertake an informed assessment of the approach taken to the learning review.
We had a number of meetings with senior police officers. We used these engagements to receive additional views and information so as to assist in our task of scrutinising and challenging the contents and conclusions of the Police’s Individual Agency Learning Review as provided to us.
Throughout our engagements and in the drafting of our report we have been mindful of and remained focused on the scope of our remit whilst recognising its importance to the Police, the Commissioner, the Council and the public.
South Wales’ Police’s Individual Agency Learning Review
From the Police perspective this is the core document that we were asked to assess so as to evaluate the learning it evidenced. Some areas of concern were, of course, identified within the written Police Review e.g. in respect of (a) command structures and communication; and (b) tactics and potential interventions. However we were concerned that the identification of these areas was limited as to scope, depth and contextualisation. Our Terms of Reference required us to assess whether the Police Review was sufficiently rigorous so as to provide assurance that appropriate lessons had been identified, explored and learnt. We initially sought to test and challenge the rigour of the written review in a series of conversations with Senior Police Officers and employees.
These conversations provided us with a helpful perspective and a fuller understanding of the concerns and issues that arose. Many of those with whom we spoke are highly experienced and their analyses of aspects of the police responses on the 20/5/21 were not fully reflected in the report of the 16/8/21. Their views were a significant and rich addition to the initial learning review. During meetings with the Police we were able to ask questions which helped address some of the factual concerns which arose out of the policing responses on the night. These sessions helped deliver a fuller and more informed picture and indicated that the initial written review was neither complete nor comprehensive.
Whilst it was not our role to carry-out an investigation or undertake an internal police review, it was our role to scrutinise and challenge the learning review provided to us. In order to further assess this we requested access to some specified primary materials so as to sample and test the robustness of specific areas of the internal review. Below we give some illustrations of our methodology in undertaking this task.
We requested and were given access to materials such as the recordings of phone calls made by members of the public into the Public Service Centre during the course of the incident. The Public Service Centre is, in effect,
South Wales Police’s Central Communications and Control Room. During the incident it received calls from the public, communications from police at the scene, feeds from social media and footage from CCTV cameras at the scene. Its operation, role and interaction with command structures on the night must be an integral part of any assessment of what happened. A comprehensive evaluation of primary materials, such as these calls and other interactions, is crucial to a robust review of events and is a firmer foundation for learning than any retrospective summary. The initial learning review only refers to a few of the calls and, thus, fails to meaningfully capture the nature, extent and timeline of all the incoming information.
The Police Learning Review refers to resource being deployed elsewhere by/through the Control Room. We have received conflicting emphases as to whether this meant that there was inadequate resource to deploy to Mayhill and/or inadequate focus on the needs of Mayhill.
We requested sight of available visual recordings taken at the scene (such as social media posts, police bodycam recordings and CCTV footages). This was a further way of assessing the written review as against primary source materials. We were shown some relatively brief compilation visual recordings of events at the scene. We do not know the totality of the visual material that was assessed for the purposes of the Police Review: but we have recently been told that there is a very substantial body of such material that is now available. From the visual materials that we have reviewed it is clear that discussion points arise as to police deployments at the scene and as to how they are understood and contextualised. Here, too, we believe that further work is necessary so as to properly and proportionately understand events and decisions.
The timeline of events and the communication between those at the scene, those in the Public Service Centre and those who were responsible for taking command decisions appears to be currently underexplored and needs to be fully explained.
Our conclusion is that there are situational, structural and strategic issues that require a comprehensive in-depth investigation if the picture is to be fully understood and the necessary lessons learnt. Whilst, of course, we welcome the additional training needs identified in the Police Review (supplemented in an additional document “CPD Update” dated 11/11/21) it seems to us that this is a limited response and that a deeper, broader and more comprehensive analysis is needed before the full range of potential lessons can be properly identified.
It follows that we regard the report described by the police as “interim” as, indeed, that. This should be seen as a starting point rather than the final outcome.
We have not expressly addressed the question of post incident recovery and ongoing support. Clearly a great deal of resource was expended by the Police in the aftermath of this incident. The need for this was, in part, generated by the way in which the event itself was handled by them. We believe that any meaningful assessment of post incident responses has to be predicated on a full understanding and acceptance of lessons learnt. For the reasons identified within this review, we do not believe that that position has yet been achieved.
Areas for further work by the Police
In order to assist in a further Review and/or Investigation we set out below some of the areas where additional work seems to us appropriate and necessary. This should include an evaluation of policing deployments at the scene, operation of the Public Service Centre, connectivity/communication between scene and Centre, connectivity/communication within the Centre and how and where decisions were taken and recorded that night.
The accounts of police officers at command and operational levels form an integral part in the development of a comprehensive understanding of both police command decision making and operational deployment on the night. We feel that evidence from officers at the scene should be sought, not only through the lens of the criminal justice system (we assume that this will have been done) but also with a view to understanding the appropriateness of the police responses, e.g. were there points at which interventions should have been made, was the public (dis)order response the only/appropriate response?
Our advice is that this should involve a review and consideration of all materials available to include accounts given, statements made, instructions given, and debriefs undertaken, together with all contemporaneous, visual and oral recordings captured. This would include social medial clips and body worn camera and CCTV footages, police officers’ notes (written, electronic and/or computerised) policy and incident logs, radio traffic etc.
A full time line identifying events at the scene, cross-referring them to transcriptions of calls into the Public Service Centre and command decisions taken is essential in fully appreciating the sequence of events. It seems to us that a comprehensive chronology of this kind will tell its own story.
The police learning review document (pages 12 to 14) summarises the model of police command, and also emphasises the importance of the National Decision Making Model as part of the command decision making process. This structure and process are accepted as fundamental in setting strategic objectives against changing information and threat assessments, in developing appropriate tactics and in ensuring effective implementation. It provides a recognised and well establish tool to ensure that identified priorities are resourced in an auditable and accountable way. It is relevant at all levels and is constantly used in allocating resources across competing demands. In this context we feel that it is of the utmost importance for the intelligence gathering, assessment and review process to be fully evaluated as part of the wider command decision making process. This should take account of visual and audio recordings (as seen and heard live time by officers and subsequently retrieved post event). From an examination of the “master incident” it appears that it was at 21:18 that the Intelligence unit was formally tasked to provide an assessment of the key events. It has been generally accepted that information was often contradictory throughout the events on the 20th May. Whilst we recognise the challenges of capturing accurate intelligence assessments during fast moving incidents, it illustrates the importance of ensuring that the processes are as “joined up” and as transparent as possible so as to enable a proper and effective review and assessment to be conducted ex post facto. Some of the key questions here revolve around what information was available, when it became available, the process by which it was assessed and its availability to commanders and officers involved and deployed.
In particular further work should be undertaken to include all of the calls received from the public on the evening, comprehensively reviewing the detail of the information sourced, the subsequent information recorded on to police systems, the appropriateness of the location of its recording and its subsequent assessment and action (if any) in the context of the incident’s lifespan. One of the potential areas of concern is the apparent lack of understanding of the situation within the Central team well into the incident’s escalation and when speaking to the reporting individuals.
Further consideration around the capture, review and revisiting of calls ‘live time’ would be worthwhile and full debriefs of Public Service Centre staff involved would add value to this process. We have been made aware of live time visual feed into the Public Service Centre and the use and impact of this also needs further work.
The gold, silver and bronze command structure needs further examination and clarification so as to identify the communication issues that appear to have arisen during the timeline of the incident. We have been unable to identify a clear command structure either properly identified or working in practice. On the basis of the information available to us we do not know why this appears to be the case. We would also consider it appropriate to seek a better understanding of the decision making of the Force Incident Manager. Whilst we have been told that there were other incidents occurring elsewhere in the Force area we have not been provided with evidence based reassurance that these other events justified the lack of apparent Senior Command and/or Central Police focus on Mayhill’s needs. We are aware that the police are examining the flex of resources to ensure additional capacity at times of organisational stress, but capacity and capability that night need to be expressly addressed if there is to be assurance that this could not happen again.
We are aware that there is work ongoing as to connectivity between the police and other agencies in the form of a preprepared ‘trigger’ plan. It was noted that the Waun Wen Road, Mayhill incident was identified, after it ended, as a ‘critical incident’. There is general agreement that this was the appropriate categorisation. It appears to be the view that this should have been “called” sooner than it was. Doing so would have provided more focus and urgency to managing the incident as a priority. Importantly this would, at the same time, provide proportionate, necessary and justifiable grounds for dealing with other force wide incidents without “due regard” to performance measures and other generally accepted standards of response.
There is also a need to address and explain specific decision making processes and responses taken in respect of phone calls received, the way in which they were recorded and handled, and how incoming information into the Public Service Centre was matched up with what was being seen and observed by Police Officers at the scene. One specific example was when a ‘threat to life’ was identified in respect of a particularly vulnerable individual which resulted in the deployment of officers with shields. The identification of the threat and corresponding risk to the individual were understood and called as a ‘threat to life’ but we have no evidence of that decision making process. The officers later ‘withdrew’ and the withdrawal, whilst maximising the safety of officers, needs further work so as to explore how the ongoing threat to the victim was assessed and how it could be minimised by further tactical deployments. Indeed this victim, along with other victims of the incident, appear to have been ‘lost’ for some time in both the decision making and response processes.
This forgoing concern is, of course, at the heart of any assessment of the incident and needs to be expressly addressed if there is to be meaningful assurance that lessons have been appropriately learnt.
In respect of this and other deployments at the scene further work needs to be undertaken so as to examine scene command and whether a more appropriate structure should have been identified. With a large number of officers allocated, many visible to the public outside Townhill Police Station and others standing within sight of the incident itself, their deployment should be assessed by direct debriefs, and by testing against the National Decision Making Model and the Nationally recognised command structure.
We spoke to senior officers about a “mix and match” approach to the initial policing of incidents which might evolve into large scale public disorder events. We have information about the numbers of police officers deployed to the incident. It ranges from 20 or so early on to 60 plus by the early hours of the 21st May. Authorised Taser officers and dog handlers were in attendance, along with many other uniformed officers, but we are unsure as to decision making in respect of their deployment.
We have seen some limited footage of Police deployment at the scene. This should be tested and measured against the narrative in the Police Report. It also gives rise to questions as to operational tactics at the scene. For example when shield officers are deployed from a police van, a number of other police vehicles can be seen in the area on the visual recordings we have seen. It is not entirely clear what happened to other deployed officers, such as the taser officers and police dog handlers. Furthermore, more shield carrying officers are later seen to deploy, following (and seemingly unknown to them) the withdrawal of the original officers deployed. The effective deployment of all the available resources is an area that warrants further work, along with the timeline, fed by known intelligence (and missed intelligence) to further inform future learning and the corresponding threats clearly faced by the victims. Indeed from the visual recordings that we have observed we strongly recommend further review of the crowd dynamic at different points along the time line of the visual recording. This would enable consideration of other tactics or interventions. Were there points at which other interventions should have been undertaken during the course of the evening? Civilian witnesses have identified some potential intervention points as have some of the Senior Police Officers with whom we have spoken. The balance between hindsight and foresight must be based on a robust understanding of what, where and when those opportunities were.
It would also be helpful to reflect on decisions made in respect of cordons at the scene (e.g. the video footages show unknown vehicles driving into the scene of the disorder) as this again may help with a better understanding of the dynamic at the scene.
Further work is also needed around the request for Public Order Unit support under the designation of “Operation Scorpion.” When and how this support should be “called” and the process in the event of its refusal need to be made more explicit. On the evening of the 20th May it was requested and declined twice, the senior officer at the scene in Mayhill sought to go outside of the chain of command because of its repeated refusal. We also understand that there was input from the head of force planning (who was contacted out of hours and off-duty) in progressing this request. Even after the Scorpion “call” was eventually made, the mutual aid Public Order Unit available from Gwent was not authorised to proceed into the South Wales force area until after the incident had, in effect, ended. Further work is needed to understand this significant sequence of events.
There appear to have been break downs in communications that night. Without being fully sighted on what happened and why they happened it is impossible to come to a concluded view as to their cause/s.
We have been told of various steps that have been taken since this event such as additional Public Order Commanders being trained and Continuing Professional Development training opportunities based upon the Mayhill scenario. Any improvements are to be commended. However the steps taken in response to the original police review and those necessary in response to a fully informed investigation are likely to be different in nature, degree and extent.
Local Authority Review and some multi-agency issues
The Local Authority has undertaken a detailed review of issues arising from the Waun Wen Road, Mayhill incident and provided a report entitled ‘A Review of the Main Findings, Recommendations, and Learning from the Incident in Mayhill on 20th May 2021’. The report’s conclusions and recommendations flow logically from the evidence detailed therein.
Inevitably, given the breadth of issues examined, there will be differing views on some elements, but the report provides the vital underpinning for a positive action plan which should, over time, demonstrate that the learning from this event has led to positive change.
Panel priorities and advice
It is unnecessary for the panel to repeat the conclusions and recommendations set out in the written review here, or to restate all the detail provided in the Council report. However, the panel has identified a number of areas that, whilst covered in the report, are of such importance that they need to be extracted for particular attention and monitored vigorously as the action plan is implemented. These issues are summarised here. They are not ranked in terms of importance.
The Partnership Landscape
We have been referred to a wide range of partnerships, forums, and groups which often include representatives of the Local Authority and Police. We have heard that the effective working of many of these were adversely impacted by Covid. It is not realistic to seek to comment on how well all these individual groups worked. Our concern is that, often, there appears to have been a real risk of siloed working and that their sheer multiplicity did not necessarily lead to synergistic, joined-up or harmonious partnership.
Views differed as to the quality of the relationship between the Police and the Local Councillors and the Community. It is perhaps inevitable that there are different perspectives on these engagements and a renewed focus on re-energising and re-engaging in these relationships is clearly important.
There is an urgent need to rethink and redesign the myriad partnerships identified as relevant in the report. Covid has impacted, undoubtedly, but change is needed irrespective of this fact.
All partners need to fully commit and actively participate. Information sharing between groups needs to be reviewed and assurance provided that arrangements are robust. The number and scope of the groups needs testing as to fitness for purpose. The Problem Solving Group (PSG) needs a reboot, commitment, and regularity if it is to be effective.
The work to review trigger points and devise a clear serious incident protocol led by the emergency planning team is of vital importance. It is essential that there is a clearly understood and agreed understanding when phrases such as ‘serious incident’, ‘critical incident’, and ‘major incident’ are used. At present, there appears to be some unhelpful interchangeability.
As part of this work, a formal system of recording and logging activity during live incidents should be developed.
A multi-agency approach to social media monitoring and intelligence gathering via the partnership arrangements needs to be designed, implemented, and utilised as soon as possible.
The need for the requested barrier work was undoubtedly raised and pursued with the Council in the weeks leading up to this incident. It is unfortunate that the work had not been carried-out. We understand that the work was undertaken on the day after the incident and was quickly completed.
We heard different views as to whether and /or to what extent the failure to carry-out the requested barrier work impacted on behaviours and outcomes on the 20th May. On the basis of the information available to us it is impossible for us to assess whether it would have had a restraining influence on the criminal behaviours that night. This may become clearer after criminal proceedings.
The issue of the barriers and the debate around their effectiveness raises a broader issue: is the barrier solution the right or the best solution and would it have been contemplated in other areas of the City?
The community should be engaged in a consultation which seeks to develop options that meet the community safety objectives in a more ‘designed’ and ‘aesthetic’ way. Safety is paramount, but this needs to be joined with the notion of improved environmental design.
Community development and support
Discussion with community members and their representatives only emphasised a need to think broadly on this issue. Communities in Mayhill and Townhill are distinct and proud as well as independent of each other. A challenge for partners is to truly recognise this fact. For example, developments in Townhill do not easily translate into positives for Mayhill and, for some, only add to perceptions of inequality.
This is a massive challenge that could be the subject of a separate report and arguably, needs to be.
The creation of safe spaces, community activity, youth engagement etc. requires a level of investment not just of money, but also proactive individuals who are supported and mentored. Identifying, supporting, and nurturing community capacity to generate positive action in sport, community events, social activity, youth engagement, etc. is a significant challenge, but an essential one.
Finally, and to be absolutely clear; the incident on 20th May 2021 took place on Waun Wen Road in Mayhill but was not born of Mayhill. Highlighting the need to improve the physical environment and invest in the development of the community arises clearly from the learning review, but this need have no causal link to the incident.
Was this a spontaneous incident?
It is the view of both the Council and the Police that this was a spontaneous incident. It is difficult to come to a concluded view on this without being fully sighted on all of the available evidence and material. We were told at the conclusion of one of our meetings with the Police that there was evidence in the criminal investigation that a vehicle had been obtained in advance of the incident with a view to it being used in the incident. There appear to have been social media posts before hand which might have had the potential to alert agencies. There was a car chase involving the police leading up to the incident. There had been a previous car related incident in the same location. There were outstanding requests for an additional barrier on the road. Whilst the balance of the currently available information appears to indicate that there was no clear forewarning of an incident of intended public disorder, it is impossible to come to a reliable view on this based on the information currently available to us.
Retrospectively, the Police have identified previous similar incidents of disorder coalescing around the death or the anniversary of the death of a young person. It seems appropriate that this awareness should lead to enhanced and proportionate social media monitoring by both the Police and Council.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Council led learning review
The Council led learning review is comprehensive and evidence based. Whilst, no doubt, there are some differences in views and emphasis amongst stakeholders, it forms a sound basis for a positive action plan which will demonstrate effective learning from this event.
The panel recommends that the following issues are prioritised within the action plan as detailed in this report.
The myriad partnership arrangements need review. Assurance is required that all participants are fully committed, information sharing is robust, and the arrangements are
Clarity on incident protocols is urgently required. A formal system of logging and recording activity should be
A multi-agency approach to social media monitoring and intelligence gathering and sharing should be designed and
The community should be engaged in the design and implementation of infrastructure schemes to replace the barriers. Such scheme must meet both safety and environmental design
A Council supported, community led community development programme should be developed that could provide an exemplar for other areas of the City. Creating and supporting community capacity, safe spaces, youth activity, and much more is required.
Police led learning review
The Police learning review did not contain much of the information that was presented in the course of our discussions with the Police and does not reflect some of the content of those discussions and/or the primary source material that we assessed. Therefore we are of the view that the current report cannot form the basis of sound conclusions. As currently drafted it does not provide the Panel or others with the required assurance.
The Police learning review was not informed by an exhaustive investigation of all the available evidence. Areas absent from the review are detailed earlier in this report.
A full investigation of all the available evidence, information and material is required. This is beyond the remit of this Panel but needs to be undertaken if there is to be assurance that there has been a full and appropriate review leading to appropriate learning. Whilst much of this work can be undertaken internally by the Police, our advice is that any further or final report should be independently assessed and validated so as to evidence external oversight.
Whilst not directly a matter for the Panel, it is unclear how decisions on issues such as disciplinary action and areas for Continuing Professional Development could be meaningfully determined in advance of a fuller investigation.
Despite the absence of a full investigation, it is clear to the Panel that significant failings are evident throughout this event. Currently available evidence strongly suggests failings in command structures and decisions, operational decisions and tactics, and communications. The full extent of these failings and explanations for any failings can only be determined by a forensic investigation.
All of the available evidence shows clearly that the residents of Waun Wen Road, Mayhill were left unprotected for a significant period of time on the 20th May 2021. Further analysis will not alter this fact, but should address more completely the question ‘Why?’.
The Panel therefore recommends:
That urgent consideration be given to commissioning a forensic investigation that will facilitate the production of a comprehensive learning report. The Panel had anticipated that this would be an essential part of any learning review.
Given that much of the information regarding ‘failings’ on the night of the event are already in the public domain, the Police should consider issuing a public statement. The Panel would respectfully suggest that this should include an apology and a restatement of the desire to learn.
Panel Members: Jack Straw, Martin Jones and Elwen Evans