How Cardiff escaped the riots and the looting

August 11, 2011 1 Comment »
How Cardiff escaped the riots and the looting

Youth workers who have taken to the streets to speak to teenagers have been praised for helping Cardiff remain free of any large-scale disorder.

While cities across England have been hit by looting and violence, with riots in London and parts of Manchester – as well as disorder in other cities including Bristol and Liverpool – Cardiff has remained largely free of crime.

Police confirmed there were only a few small-scale incidents reported on Tuesday night. They included an attempted burglary on a sports shop and fires at two disused buildings.

Community workers and police officers have been out in force in recent nights in an effort to maintain a mood of calm in the capital.

And council officials have been in constant touch with business leaders to keep them up to date with the work being done to keep the city safe.

Steve McCambidge is one of the dozens of youth workers and Communities First officers who have been dispatched across Cardiff to speak with young people.

Mr McCambidge, who works for Cardiff council’s street-based youth work team as a community education officer, argued that it was crucial to keep talking to the city’s young people to allay their fears and respond to grievances.

He said: “It’s a very small minority of young people who may be intent on disorder. The majority of young people are keeping out of it. They really don’t understand why some of these things are going on in some parts of the country.

“They understand what’s going on with unemployment, the economy and cuts to services, but they are not at that stage where they want to smash the place up. A lot of young people are bemused by what’s going on.”

Mr McCambidge said he only came across one large group of youths on his patrols on Tuesday night, taking in Llandaff, Canton, Pontcanna, Fairwater and Ely.

“They were all talking the talk and wanted to get involved in things, they were receiving texts which were saying it was all going to go off in the city centre,” he said.

“But when I told them I had been speaking with police and had been told nothing had been happening and everywhere was well policed, they realised there was no point in going in.”

Mr McCambidge said parents and families should be aware of where children and younger family members are – as well as reinforcing the message that there is no need for them to be going out and taking part in disorder.

“We’re going out on the streets and focusing on telling young people that disorder is not the way forward,” he said.

“There is not a big issue in Cardiff and we are not expecting there to be one.”

Cardiff’s Lord Mayor voiced his confidence that rioting in England would not come to South Wales.

Councillor Delme Bowen described the attacks as “nowhere near the scale” of the troubles seen in London and Birmingham.

He said: “I can understand people may be concerned after hearing reports of what happened in Cardiff, given the context of problems in England.

“But there has been no organised unrest in Cardiff or anywhere else in Wales for that matter. I am sure that people in Wales will continue to respect their communities.

“Obviously the authorities will keep monitoring the situation should any incidents occur and they will be dealt with accordingly.”

Council officials have been working with the police to ensure the city remains peaceful.

Jon House, Cardiff council’s chief executive, has been in constant touch with the business community to provide reassurance.

He said: “We have worked very well with the police and Communities First in order to do all we can to prevent the build-up of any tension in any part of the city.”

Mr House said teams of youth workers had been deployed in “large numbers” to talk with any potential troublemakers and ensure they understood the consequences of any disorder.

He pointed to the “considerable investment” from the council in previous years in its youth services and the quality of Cardiff’s team of youth workers.

Meanwhile, South Wales Police said they were continuing investigations into Tuesday night’s “minor” trouble in Cardiff.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the Welsh Government would continue to keep an eye on the situation in England.

He said: “What’s important is that what we’ve seen in some of the cities in England is that it stops and that people are able to go about their daily lives.

“I hope, of course, in Wales people have more respect for each other in their communities where they live.”

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One Comment

  1. Kaz August 13, 2011 at 5:45 am - Reply

    I am so glad that i live in Wales, not in the centre of Cardiff, but in the Valleys, where employment is tough to find, for the younger generation , and we have problems, the same as any small town. the difference is that most children have a good respect for their elders, and im sick of people targeting 'single parents', i was a single parent for years, but brought my children up to see what was right and wrong. they made a few mistakes, but learned from them, and also learned from hurting me in the process. we have to give our children, love and encouragement, but also some responsibility towards their actions, and learn that there will be consequences for them. I am proud to be Welsh.

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