AN INDEPENDENT joint review is being set up as part of measures to support a Swansea community. 

The review will be led by a three-member panel chaired by a QC, Prof Elwen Evans, alongside vice-chairs police expert Martin Jones and local government expert Jack Straw.

Communities in Mayhill and Waun Wen have been working closely with Swansea Council and South Wales Police to support local people following disturbances there on May 20.

Residents, community leaders and the authorities came together to provide assistance to the close-knit community and provide a range of immediate support to those affected by the incident on May 20.

And, while the criminal investigation continues Swansea Council with the Police & Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable have announced there will be an independent joint learning review to find out more about the background to the occurrence and to learn lessons for the future.

Mayhill and Waun Wen communities were locked in their home in May due to riots in the streets

The review is supported by the Welsh Government, which has welcomed the local leadership shown by the Council and the Police.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “The unlawful disturbances we saw were shocking. They were the actions of yobs and criminals and were in no way a true reflection of the wonderful communities of Mayhill and Waun Wen – or of the majority of the people of Swansea.

“We took immediate action to support residents after the disturbances and we are still working side-by-side with families, young people, local councillors and community leaders in the recovery.

“However, it’s essential that we take the opportunity to answer the questions the community have asked and learn more about the background to this incident, what happened on the night and the immediate aftermath. 

“Events like those we witnessed in Mayhill and Waun Wen are thankfully extremely rare and the independent review offers us an opportunity to learn lessons to further prevent incidents across Wales in the future.”

Police & Crime Commissioner Alun Michael endorsed this approach, saying: “It is important for us to understand how and why these events happened in Mayhill, how each agency responded and to use the outcome of the learning review constructively for the future.

“It’s important to note that straight away the Council’s Leader and Chief Executive met myself as the Police & Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable and we agreed to work together to appoint an independent Chair for the Learning Review.

Shocking images following Swansea street riot – credit Ryan Milsom

“The review will examine what led up to that incident, whether it could have been predicted and the way in which agencies responded to support the local community and restore confidence after the event. It is being established with the support of Welsh Government, who are providing finance to enable the review to take place. 

“An independent legally qualified chair is being appointed, supported by two vice chairs; one with past experience of senior leadership in local government and the other with senior command experience within policing. This review will build on internal reviews already conducted by individual organisations into the event.  It will also look at how members of the community responded and supported each other after the incident.”

Councillor Rob Stewart added:  “Working with the community it will assist us in developing long-term plans to continue to support the area in recovering from what happened.”

Residents directly affected by the disturbances as well as community groups and leaders will be invited to give feedback to the inquiry panel.

Cllr Stewart said that over the last decade the council had continued to invest heavily in the area despite years of U.K. national government austerity. Around £50m was invested in improving housing in the area. 

Last year a £500,000 refurbishment of the local Seaview Primary School was completed and the local youth club in Townhill received £80,000 of support. A £2m state-of-the-art family centre and GP surgery was opened at Mountain View in Mayhill in 2018. More investment is being delivered now in better community facilities and community services.

Cllr Stewart said: “Since May 20 we’ve seen the true spirit of the Mayhill community and its neighbouring Townhill area emerge with residents supporting each other and working with the council and local councillors to address some of the immediate issues. 

“I thank them, council staff, local schools, the police and other agencies who’ve stepped up to the plate with support to help those affected and help the wider community feel safe.”