First Minister condemns ‘completely unacceptable’ scenes at Swansea vigil

·4-min read

The First Minister of Wales has condemned “completely unacceptable” scenes in Swansea, where a vigil descended into violence.

Mark Drakeford said the disorder would “not be tolerated anywhere in Wales” and thanked police officers for bringing the incident under control.

South Wales Police asked people not to return to the Mayhill area of the city and warned those involved should expect to face “robust action”.

The force urged residents to stay indoors on Thursday night as they dealt with the disorder, which saw cars on fire in the middle of the road and crowds cheering as a vehicle was rolled down a hill.

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Mr Drakeford tweeted on Friday: “The violent scenes in Swansea last night were completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated anywhere in Wales.”

He thanked South Wales Police “for bringing the situation under control and continuing to monitor it closely this morning”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Absolutely disgraceful scenes in Swansea last night. My thoughts are with Mayhill residents who had to endure such shocking behaviour.

“Thank you to the brave officers at South Wales Police for bringing it under control.

“Police have my backing to take robust action against those involved.”

Swansea disorder
Boarded up houses at the top of Waun Wen Road (Ben Birchall/PA)

Jeremy Vaughan, the chief constable of the force, said it would “stop at nothing” to find those responsible.

“Saddened and furious at events in Swansea last night,” he tweeted.

“So many families will have been tormented by those responsible, rest assured we @swpolice will stop at nothing to find them.

“We will work hard with others to help and support local residents who deserve better than this.”

Swansea Council said it was “responding at pace” to the disturbance, with officers assisting with “clean-up operations, helping with repairs and reassuring residents”.

Council contractors place heavy concrete barriers at the top of Waun Wen Road, Swansea
Council contractors place heavy concrete barriers at the top of Waun Wen Road, Swansea (Ben Birchall/PA)

South Wales Police described the incident as “totally unacceptable” and said there would be an increased police presence over the weekend.

Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Gilmer said: “These are scenes we don’t expect in our communities and our officers should not expect to have to confront situations like this.

“I want to reassure residents of Mayhill that we shall be maintaining an enhanced police presence throughout the weekend.

“If those involved choose to return and further threaten public safety they will be robustly dealt with.

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“Our focus now is to fully investigate this appalling incident. We will be using CCTV and social media footage to help us to identify and arrest those responsible.

“The level of violence towards emergency services and the damage to buildings and vehicles was totally unacceptable.

“I would like to thank the public for their support and appeal to anyone with information or video footage to come forward and provide that to us.”

Councillor Rob Stewart, the leader of Swansea Council, also condemned the “absolutely disgusting behaviour by yobs” in Mayhill.

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“This is completely unacceptable and inexcusable behaviour. Our thoughts are with the residents who have had to put up with this utterly despicable behaviour in our community,” Mr Stewart said.

“Our officers have linked in with the police who have been on the scene for some time.

“We will support the police to identify, pursue and prosecute those that have organised and participated in this criminal activity.”

Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales and MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, described the scenes as “disgraceful”.

Tom Giffard, Welsh Conservative member of the Senedd for South Wales West, said the disorder was “disturbing”.

Anyone with information, photographs or video footage is asked to contact South Wales Police, quoting incident 992 of May 20.