A Chronology of 50 years of policing Cardiff's Capital
Cardiff City Police Badge
Finally, after 30 years of campaigning by towns and cities across Wales as they vied to become Capital, Cardiff was officially chosen for the honour just after half past three in the afternoon of Tuesday 20th December 1955.
This momentous decision provided Wales with not only the Capital it had lacked for 4 centuries following the Acts of Union in the reign of King Henry VIII in 1536, but also a much needed focus for Welsh cultural identity.
The 1950s were a time of rapid expansion for Cardiff, Wales’ newly appointed Capital City (population: 243,500). Increased housing provision created its own policing challenges, with a need to provide 3 extra sub-divisional police stations in the areas of Rhymney, Ely and Llanishen. During this period the police also had to contend with increasing responsibilities in the duties of traffic regulation, the prevention and detection of offences and the investigation of accidents, as a direct result of increasing numbers of vehicles using the highways. Road safety became the key policing issue for the 1950s.
Annual Crown Inspection of Cardiff City Police in the grounds of Cardiff Castle in the early 1950s, by F T Tarry Esq, HM Inspector of Constabulary
1954 – Appointment of 9th Chief Constable of Cardiff, Francis Thomas, following the retirement of Mr W J Price after 44 years service.
The total number of crimes reported to the police during the year numbered 3,080, a figure little different from previous years. However, the number of road accidents in Cardiff continued to give rise to grave concern. The number of fatally injured showed a welcome reduction but there was an increase in the numbers seriously and slightly injured. The appointment of civilians the previous year to assist school children in crossing the road no doubt contributed to the decrease in road deaths.
1955 – The change in police manpower brought about by the grant of an additional rest day each fortnight to all members of the Force below the rank of Superintendent created some administrative difficulties in the disposition of police personnel. This reduction in manpower coupled with the overall general difficulty in attracting sufficient calibre men to a police career, adversely affected endeavours to halt the riding figures in road casualties.
The number of motor vehicles registered in Cardiff dramatically increased from 14,557 in 1938 to 29,728 in 1955 and the number of driving licences from 22,950 to 49,456. However police studies showed that the majority of accidents were caused by road users, drivers and pedestrians failing to comply with the elementary rules of the road.
1955 also showed a concerted effort made by Cardiff police to tackle the activities of gangs of youths, popularly known as "Teddy-boys" who used offensive weapons such as bicycle chains, coshes and razor blades to intimidate the general public. Police actions were successful and no further incidents of this nature occurred.
1956 – The police proposed banning private cars from the centre of Cardiff to reduce traffic congestion and related crimes such as thefts from vehicles left unattended. During 1956, there were 514 of these offences, the highest ever recorded.
Juvenile crime increased significantly this year, with 46% of all offences of larceny committed by the under 17s.
Also on the increase were the numbers of assaults against police officers. There were 71 cases in 1956 as opposed to 48 in 1955 and 36 in 1954. Some of the assaults were determined and vicious and in 6 cases the officers concerned were incapacitated for a total of 168 days. One constable was so badly injured that he was absent from duty for 132 days.
1957 – Matters of primary concern this year were the increase in the number of indictable offences; the deficiency in police strength; inadequacy of police stations on large housing estates and the poor condition of existing police stations.
The issue of falling female police recruits was also raised. Women police had first been appointed to Cardiff City Police Force in 1947, but out of a total of 18 then appointed only 5 were still members of the Force. In the past 10 years, a total of 40 resignations had been made mainly because of marriage, yet only 15 women applied to the force in 1957 as opposed to 78 men. Of these 31 men and just 2 women were appointed.
Women’s Auxiliary Corps pictured at Canton in Cardiff during the latter part of the Second World War, with Detective Chief Constable Luke Beirne
The number of crimes committed numbered 4,341 compared with 3,515 in 1956. These figures were the highest ever recorded in the history of Cardiff City, and in common with many other parts of the country, was a continuation of an upward trend which commenced in 1956 following a recession from the previous peak in 1951. The principal increases were in burglary and theft.
In the light of so many fundamental social changes since the year 1900, namely progressive legislation on the treatment of criminal offenders, a greater spread of economic prosperity, the removal of social injustice and the introduction of the welfare state, these figures were both surprising and disappointing.
The police pillar scheme was completed in March enabling patrol cars and beat constables to be quickly contacted from Divisions and Headquarters, and constables to pass information back to police stations over the direct telephone lines from the strategically placed pillars. Previously the only means of contacting a police officer was by searching the beat or awaiting a call by the constable at the police station, often incurring long delays.
1958 – The crisis over the shortage of new recruits to the force further worsened this year resulting in 41 officer vacancies.
Crime reached a new high of 5,754 this year.
1959 – An upward trend in recruitment this year resulted in a reduction in the number of officer vacancies to 27, the steady improvement being of considerable help in policing beats hitherto been covered by officers on bicycles working 2 or even 3 beats in a tour of duty.
However, even with a full compliment of police officers, Cardiff found itself in a worse position than Merthyr or Newport, where the population per officer was 439 and 507 respectively. Population per officer in Cardiff was 552. Indeed Cardiff had a greater shortage of police than these towns or the cities of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, which were singled out as the provincial areas where the greatest shortage of police were to be found.
The practice of employing civilians to relieve constables for police duties continued, with the number of civilian employees standing at 43.
Crime fell this year with the number of crimes known to the police totally 5,673 as opposed to 5,754 in 1958. Although the figures evidenced a halt in the general upward trend occurring during the preceding three years, the incidence of serious crime involving violence to the person and of most forms of theft continued to increase.
The number of assaults against the police rose from 58 in 1958 to 96 in 1959 – a 66% increase.
A new police station at Highcroft, Llanrumney was officially opened on 1st April, with the Home Office agreeing to the building of a new station at Llanishen and the rebuilding of Canton Station.
1960 – The overall strength changed little and the promising trend exhibited shown towards the end of 1959 was not maintained. However on the 16th November the Royal Commission on the Police published an Interim Report containing recommendations on the pay of constables. The increase recommended was substantial and it was hoped that this would impact on future recruiting.
Chief Constable Francis Thomas repeated his concerns that a full compliment of officers would still not be enough to adequately police Cardiff. In 1950 an application was made to the Secretary of State for the Home Office to sanction the increase the authorised establishment of the Cardiff City Force by 2 Inspectors, 16 Sergeants and 156 Constables, but only 60 officers had been subsequently added. In 1956, following the introduction of the additional fortnightly rest day, 10 additional Constables were added to meet an actual loss in man-hours equal to 40 men. His argument therefore was that the number of men available for daily duty would be fewer than it was in 1950.
These figures made disturbing reading based on the increase in the population of Cardiff since it became a Capital City in 1950 from 243,500, to 255,470 in 1960. Many additional business premises and dwelling houses had been built, traffic had increased rapidly (with the number of vehicles doubling in 10 years), and the City had become a centre for more public functions and a considerably larger floating population. All this coupled with a rise in indictable offences from 3,025 in 1950 to 6,017 in 1960 had created further problems of crime prevention and detection.
Cardiff Police Cadets were established this year, with the appointment of 12 boys. The main purpose being to assist recruiting into the regular police force and to secure to the Police Service, in competition with industry and commerce, boys of good education and fitness who would be otherwise lost.
The number of attacks on the police this year fell by 23.
1961 – The full effects of the implementation relating to pay contained in the report of the Royal Commission on the Police were evident in 1961, and Cardiff Police Force, for the first time in many years, was almost fully up to strength. Additionally applications to become police cadets far exceeded the number of vacancies available. However the pay increase did not result in an increase in applications from suitable women, possibly because of the conditions of service and varied hours of duty and the inability of women to apply to join the Force before the age of 20, at which point they may already be established in careers.
Crime increased again this year with 893 extra offences becoming known to the police since 1960. The overall incidence of crime in Cardiff had risen by 97% since 1956, shopbreaking, housebreaking and larceny being the primary factors in this upward trend.
1962 – The Secretary of State approved increasing Cardiff Police Force by 1 Chief Inspector, 3 Inspectors, 6 Sergeants and 40 Constables, thus bringing the strength of the force, including police women, to 512.
However Chief Constable Francis Thomas remarked that of the 106 enquiries made that year from potential candidates, only 14 were found suitable. He suggested that interest continued to suffer because the commencing pay for a constable still did not compare favourably with other professions.
A new police station was opened in Canton, replacing the out-of-date and inadequate building which had been in existence on the same site since 1882. Ely and Llanishen sub-divisional stations were erected in areas where previously only cottage stations existed.
The Cardiff City Police Motor Cycle Section was established.
Crime this year further increased by 282 offences, again attributable to breaking and entering of premises and fraud.
Chief Constable Thomas Gwilym Morris
1963 – Chief Constable Francis Thomas died in office. He was replaced by Thomas Gwilym Morris (pictured on the right in the above picture).
1964 – Under the provisions of the 1964 Police Act, Home Secretary Right Honourable James Callaghan, MP for Splott in Cardiff, announced that the police forces of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Swansea and Merthyr Tydfil would amalgamate.
Traffic wardens commenced duty on the streets of Cardiff for the first time. On the 27th July the Fixed Penalty Procedure was introduced, whereby a ticket is placed on the offending vehicle and the driver may pay within a period of 21 days, the fixed penalty of £2 at the office of the Clerk to the Justices.
Cardiff City Police established Women Police Cadets to encourage recruitment of women into the Force.
A decrease in crime was reported for the first time since 1954, of 8 offences, from 2,011 in 1963 to 2,003 in 1964.
1965 – The Home Secretary authorised an increase of 194 men and women in the authorised establishment of the Force to be implemented over a period of 3 years, an increase in the establishment of boy cadets from 24 to 33, the appointment of 3 girl cadets, appointment of 30 civilians and an increase of 9 in the vehicle establishment.
4 of the 5 divisional vans purchased at the end of 1965, as a result of the allowed increase of 9 officers in the transport department
Assaults on police officers and obstruction increased from 94 to 126, which means that during this year about 1 in 4 police officers in Cardiff was assaulted or obstructed in his duty. It was hoped that the planned augmentation of the Force would help deter such behaviour.
The Police Amendment Regulations of 1964 reduced the working week of all ranks below that of Superintendent from 44 hours to 42 hours from the 1st July 1964. However because of the vacancies then existing in the Force it was not possible to implement the Regulation at that time. The 42-hour week was finally introduced in Cardiff on 10th February 1965.
Criminal offences increased by 2,020 this year, with the numbers recorded totalling 9,892 in 1965 as opposed to 7,872 in 1964. However 720 more crimes were detected than in the previous year and 328 more criminals arrested.
The Foundation Stone for Cathays Police Station is laid
1966 –The foundation stone for the new police headquarters at Cathays in Cardiff was laid by Mr George Thomas, Minister of State for Wales, in the presence of the Chairman and members of the Watch Committee on Friday 29th July.
The actual strength of the Force increased from 562 to 636 and this increase provided a more efficient policing of the City than was hitherto possible. Crime however rose again this year by 1,884 offences giving a total of 11,776.
Unit Beat Policing on display at Cathays, Cardiff
1967 –Plans for the introduction of Unit Beat Policing throughout the City at a cost of over £30,000 were approved. Unit Beat Policing equipped all policemen on the beat with blue and white panda cars, allowing them for the first time ever to respond quickly to calls for help by maintaining close wireless communication with their respective control rooms. New mobile police officers could patrol an area up to six times as large as could be managed by his colleagues on foot. This was of immense importance at a time when the cost of policing was increasing, and with the growth of specialist police functions, a manpower shortage was growing.
Crime increased again this year by 303 offences bringing the total to 12,079. However the Force took heart from the lower increase in comparison to the disturbing increase witnessed in the years 1964 and 1965 of 2,020 and 1,884 respectively, and the inclusion of the added areas of Whitchurch and Rhiwbina into the 1967 figures.
Cardiff City Police Headquarters at Cathays, Cardiff
1968 –The official Opening of the Headquarters of Cardiff City Police in Cathays Park took place on Thursday 22nd August. Mr Stephen Brown, QC, described it as "a Headquarters superbly built and lavishly equipped."
Unit Beat Policing was launched on 25th March 1968
In this final year of Cardiff City Police, an increase in criminal offences was recorded of 406, the total being 12,485. However the figures did not compare like with like because the areas of Whitchurch and Rhiwbina had not been included for the first 3 months of 1967.
1969 – A new force, South Wales Constabulary, came into being with a combined regular police and civilian strength of 2,397. Numerically it was the largest in Wales. Almost half of the population of the principality, the capital city, industrial heartland, docks and an airport of growing importance fell within its boundary.
Since their introduction, all the professional police forces in Glamorgan have been answerable to the public through the police authority made up of respected members of the community. From their establishment in 1835 until their abolition in 1969, the Borough Police Forces of Cardiff, Swansea and Merthyr Tydfil have been accountable to Watch Committees, composed of elected councillors.
Upon its formation in 1841, until the Local Government Act of 1888, the County Force answered to the Magistrates of Quarter Sessions. From 1889, a new body known as Standing Joint Committee, presided over police matters. This was composed of both elected County Councillors and Magistrates. Political manoevring was endemic within the Committee and this erupted into the open when the amalgamation announcement came.
The Conservative controlled Standing Joint Committee and the Labour dominated Cardiff City Watch Committee argued long and hard over whether the capital should retain an independent force.
The Government ordered an inquiry into the matter and at length reported amalgamation had to proceed.
The former Chief Constable of the Glamorganshire Constabulary, Melbourne Thomas, became Chief Constable of the new South Wales Constabulary
1970 – Recruitment crisis in the South Wales Constabulary. The period since amalgamation showed an above average rate in respect of voluntary resignations, many from experienced officers with between 5 and 10 years service. The main reason for departure was their ability to gain more remunerative alternative employment.
This problem was exacerbated by a reduction of the working work imposed on 1st April 1970, which meant that all grades up to and including Chief Inspector level were reduced from 42 to 40 hours. Although the deficit was compensated by the payment of overtime to constables, it proved too expensive to compensate higher ranking staff, resulting in 582 officers available for 1 day less duty a month. The reduction in working hours was a loss equivalent to 126 police officers.
In addition, an increase in annual leave entitlement of 3 days led to a further loss of 7,578 working days or a loss to the service of over 30 police officers per year.
Dramatic increase in crimes committed by young people as a result of illicit drug usage throughout the force area. 40% of detected crimes were carried out by persons under the age of 17 years and 22.7% by young people aged between 17 and 20.
The drug squad at Cardiff were instrumental in breaking a ring of importers of LSD who were exporting cannabis resin in payment. The 6 people concerned were apprehended in possession of LSD, and subsequently 2 American citizens were arrested in London with a substantial quantity of cannabis they had obtained at Cardiff with the intention of smuggling it out of the country. The squad were also responsible for apprehending another American citizen in London with a substantial quantity of LSD.
An exhibition was held at Cardiff Headquarters entitled "Prevention and Social Role of the Police in relation to Drug Abuse".
Effort was made by the South Wales Constabulary to create a greater awareness amongst members of the public of their responsibilities in crime prevention. Cardiff led the way with an exhibition of 4 weeks duration being held as part of the National Crime Prevention Campaign.
1971 – Former Chief Constable of Cardiff City Police, Gwilym Morris, was appointed to head the South Wales Constabulary.
1972 – The first arrests for possession of heroin were made in Cardiff
A fraud squad was established to investigate commercially orientated crimes and allegations of corruption. Port Terminal Teams were established to monitor possible terrorist arrivals at Rhoose Airport in Cardiff and Swansea Harbour.
1975 - In accordance with the Sex Discrimination Act, the policewomen’s section of South Wales Constabulary ceased to exist and with it the discriminatory prefix of WPC.
1976 – A school truancy scheme was introduced in Cardiff. It was organised by educational welfare officers who patrolled department schools apprehending truants.
1978 – The year began with South Wales Constabulary possessing 110 officers less than in 1977. By July, the Force was down by a further 8 officers.
Lord Edmund-Davies established a Committee of Inquiry to consider police pay. The anticipated rise halted the downward trend so that at the end of 1978 the Force had 2,886 police officers, 14 more than at the beginning of the year, but 183 down from full strength of 3,069 officers.
An additional allocation of funds to the police authority had allowed some relaxation in the severe limit on the recruitment of civilian staff over the past 3 years and resulted in 35 posts being filled.
In 1979 Chief Constable John Woodcock was appointed
1979 - The number of enquiries for joining rose to 2,167 – the highest in South Wales Constabulary’s 10 year history. 225 police officers were appointed (double that of 1977) and a reduction in wastage attained of 87 in comparison to an average of 200 during the 3 previous years.
65,803 crimes were reported – almost 50% more than in 1979 with vandalism becoming a growing problem. A scheme was introduced in Cardiff to discourage school children from trespassing and committing vandalism on building sites. The scheme involved a building company making awards of football team kits to schools in the locality of sites where no incidences of vandalism had occurred to the company’s property.
The Home Office Forensic Science Laboratories at Cardiff and Bristol merged and transferred to a new premises at Chepstow.
Offices formerly occupied by CID and the Licensing Department at Cardiff Central were designated as the new site for the Eastern Area Control Room.
In December 8 plain-clothes officers patrolled the shopping precincts and car parks of Cardiff with a view to countering offences of shoplifting and vehicle theft. 42 arrests were made (50% of whom were professional shoplifters), and property recovered to the value of £2,300.
1980 – South Wales Constabulary now had a full complement of police officers with 2011 men and 545 women expressing an interest in joining. This figure was the highest ever and reflected society’s increased concern with job security in the face of an acute industrial and economic recession.
Much unrest existed with 3,638 working days in Cardiff spent on policing demonstrations. This equalled a reduction in police strength of 16 officers for a full year.
The standard issue of personal radios to police officers and the increasingly widespread use of cars by the late 1960s had revolutionised the way in which the police officer worked his beat. Policing was catapulted from its outmoded Victorian practices into the modern technological era. So fundamental was the change that specific "community based" policemen and women were introduced in 1980 to rebuild the bonds between the public and the police, which many perceived the advent of radio and motorcar had broken.
Personal radios and small panda cars were the combination which allowed Unit Beat Policing to be introduced
The above photograph was taken in the grounds of the Glamorgan Constabulary Headquarters in the late 1960s, to illustrate the rapid response and instant communication Unit Beat Policing would bring. The "model" was Police Constable 588 Barrie Griffiths.
In July the Castleton-Coryton section of the M4 motorway opened, offering new policing challenges.
1981 – As a direct result of proactive policing methods, South Wales Constabulary were able to show a rise of 6.47% in reported crime, a figure lower than the national average of 10%.
A school watch organised by crime prevention staff and community constables, was set up in Cardiff involving school pupils throughout the County being made aware of their responsibilities as young citizens towards school premises, property and the environment.
On 1st April a one-tier system of area control rooms was introduced. All operational wireless units were controlled from the appropriate area control at Cardiff, Bridgend and Swansea.
A police liaison panel chaired by the Chief Superintendents of the two Cardiff divisions and attended by representatives of many ethnic groups was set up. These monthly meetings were the venue for a full and frank discussion on race relations.
1982 – Community Watch was introduced. The aim of Community Watch was to act as a central point for concerned members of society to communicate with one another and local police regarding crime related problems.
Pope John Paul II visited Cardiff in June. The Force rose to the challenge of co-ordinating the event and arranging security
1983 – David East was appointed Chief Constable.
Community Watch was further extended to the Radyr and Morganstown areas of Cardiff in March.
1984 – The Miner’s strike began on 6th March creating additional policing demands.
The first schools liaison police officer was appointed in Cardiff in September to ensure contact was maintained between the 110 comprehensive, junior and infant schools in the division and the police. The Chief Superintendent was appointed a member of the board of governors of 2 special schools located in the Cardiff District.
1985 – Associated British Ports ceased employing British Transport Police at the docks in Cardiff, Barry, Port Talbot and Swansea. This resulted in the removal of 44 officers from these areas.
Manpower deficiencies caused by the above and other operational demands such as royal visits, soccer internationals at Ninian Park, the Wales/Scotland World Cup Qualifier in September, policing the Wales SDP/Liberal Alliance Conference – the first major conference to be held in Wales since the Brighton Bombing, and the ongoing Miners strike, adversely affected community policing. In total 3,282 man-hours were spent operationally.
In March, to counteract these concerns, a group of officers were drawn from uniform, plain clothes and CID and formed into a pro-active street squad. This new innovation in community policing concentrated on making arrests of persons actively engaged in crime. It resulted in the increase of burglary offences being contained to 2.04% by the end of the year with 337 people being charged.
The "Never Go With Strangers" project was introduced in 30 Junior Schools in Cardiff.
1986 – For the first time over 100,000 crimes were recorded in the South Wales Police Force area.
2 hotlines were installed at Cardiff and Sandfields to enable members of the public to provide anonymous information to squad officers on drug abuse.
Animal Liberation Activists planted 3 incendiary devices in 3 major stores in Cardiff. Officers defused them without incident.
The number of assaults carried out on Cardiff police officers increased dramatically.
Soccer hooliganism at Ninian Park was also on the rise. Cardiff police combined with West Mercia Constabulary for 1 week to try to identify offenders. 8 people were subsequently charged.
Drug misuse was still an operational priority. One single seizure of heroin on a Cardiff street had a street value of £2.2 million.
The Old Brewery Offices at Norbury Road in Cardiff were purchased with a view to conversion to a new "D" (Cardiff) Divisional Headquarters.
1987 – A Property Marking Scheme introduced to the Force in 1984 was extended to Cardiff schools.
Introduction of the Cab Care Scheme. Specific Incidents and Crimes were reported to Cab Companies who disseminated this information to all cab drivers throughout the City of Cardiff. The drivers carried out observation during the course of their work.
4 members of the Animal Liberation Front were arrested and charged with incitement and conspiracy.
1988 – A Lay Visitors scheme was introduced in Cardiff. This provided an independent viewpoint on standards of care afforded to offenders and illustrated the difficult task carried out by police officers under trying circumstances.
2 people were arrested in Cardiff for a nationwide fraud on the Department of Health and Social Security which netted in excess of £3 million.
In 1989 Mr Robert Lawrence was appointed Chief Constable.
1989 – A new divisional HQ for Cardiff was opened in Norbury Road, Fairwater.
A pilot scheme was introduced for the purpose of investigating child abuse. The aim was to evaluate the extent of the problem and forge a more effective link between the police and other child abuse agencies, thus resulting in a more responsive and integrated approach.
8 new neighbourhood watch schemes were introduced in Cardiff, and a police consultation panel for Butetown introduced.
The police service section of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme was reintroduced, and 152 young people between the ages of 14 and 18 years took part in bronze, silver and gold courses.
The facial reconstruction of Karen Price
In December the skeleton of a young woman was found by builders wrapped up in a carpet buried in the garden of a block of flats in Riverside. Her identity was established by a reconstruction of her facial image in clay, and then conclusively proved through DNA testing which was then in its infancy. This evidence together with other forensic and detective work carried out by South Wales Police resulted in the conviction of two men – Idris Ali and Alan Charlton for the murder of runaway Karen Price sometime between 1st July 1981 and 1st May 1982.
1990 – South Wales Constabulary was faced with severe financial restraints in order to prevent a budget overspend of £857,000. The subsequent restrictions on police recruitment, overtime and vehicle mileage combined to reduce the police presence on the streets. Restrictions on civilian recruitment further aggravated the situation when it became necessary to transfer 21 constables temporarily to the force control rooms in Cardiff, Bridgend and Swansea to make good a shortfall in civilian staff.
A Forcewide review was carried out of management systems and workloads of territorial divisions to ensure a more streamlined management structure, more equitable distribution of workload and to improve and simplify lines of communication and command.
SPLASH (Schools and Police Liaison Activities for Summer Holidays) scheme launched forcewide.
The body of a young woman named Geraldine Palk was found in school playing fields in Cardiff shortly before Christmas. The total cost of the investigation into her murder was £400,000 but her killer was not convicted until 2001 with the advent of DNA genetic fingerprinting.
1991 – Financial difficulties continued to bite hard, with the greatest pressures on the ability to finance acquisition of vehicles, improvement of buildings and in meeting the computer and communication requirements of a modern police force.
Crime increased substantially with the total of 156,308 representing an annual increase of 17.32% and reflected a disturbing 39.24% increase in just two years.
In September, in a bid to adapt to the harsh financial climate and meet public needs, South Wales Constabulary rationalised from 8 territorial divisions and 21 sub-divisions to 14 semi-autonomous local divisions. In addition to a significant reduction in the number of senior officers with attendant savings in support staff, buildings and capital requirements, the new superintendents now renamed divisional commanders, were provided with an enhanced status and public accountability.
Police Officer on riot duty at Ely, Cardiff
Serious public disorder at Ely in Cardiff, possibly triggered by the Ely Quality Initiative established by South Glamorgan County Council and Cardiff City Council to tackle deprivation in Ely, required the presence of 150-200 police officers on the streets. In response extra community based officers were returned to the beat in Ely, Canton and Grangetown where the local police station was reopened.
Violence against police officers in Cardiff remained a constant concern, with commonly, 2 or 3 officers being unfit for duty each month as a result of assaults.
The responsibility of policing Cardiff continued to bring demands not found elsewhere in Wales, for example, the Football and Rugby World Cup matches at the National Stadium, and resulted in the necessity of supplementing Cardiff divisions by parties across the Force.
Launch of Cardiff Marine Watch Scheme as a response to the continued development of Cardiff Bay. The scheme was primarily designed to reduce cases of theft of equipment from pleasure craft, but also encouraged owners to register marine equipment.
First seizure of "crack" in Wales took place in February in Cardiff following a long-term surveillance operation.
1992 – In response to the rise in house burglaries across the Capital, in May a Cardiff-wide neighbourhood watch co-ordinator’s seminar took place at South Glamorgan County Hall and a neighbourhood watch newspaper was launched by the Cardiff crime prevention panel. The establishment of neighbour watch schemes in the developing residential area of Cardiff Bay was treated as a priority.
1993 – Extreme financial difficulties affecting the Force reached crisis point. Chief Constable Robert Lawrence drew up a package of cuts aimed at avoiding an overspend of £2 million. Police stations in Cardiff faced temporary closure to save £100,000. These stations were Ely, Canton, Cardiff Docks, Roath, Whitchurch, Llanedeyrn, St Mellons, Cathays, and Penarth. The crisis was eventually alleviated by government intervention.
Canton Police Station, Cardiff
1994 – Radyr Police Office in the Old Church Rooms opened, serving the Radyr and Morganstown areas of Cardiff and signalling the first permanent police presence in the area for 20 years.
1996 – South Wales Constabulary changed its name to South Wales Police.
In 1995 Anthony Burden was appointed as Chief Constable
1998 – South Wales Police reported its lowest rate of reported crime since 1989.
The Force successfully policed the European Summit in Cardiff.
1999 – The Rugby World Cup came to Cardiff. The Force met the challenge.
2000 – Investigations into unsolved cases were launched following breakthroughs in DNA evidence and testing. The Geraldine Palk murder at Fairwater in Cardiff was one of the first to be reviewed.
2001 - South Wales Police solved the murder of Geraldine Palk. Her killer had evaded the mass DNA swabbing exercise carried out in Cardiff during the decade after her death in 1989. However random DNA tests on inmates at Dartmoor Prison in 2001 led police to a man called Hampson who was nearing the end of his four-year sentence for assault. Hampson was taken to Fairwater Police Station for questioning, and eventually charged with Geraldine’s murder.
Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, South Wales Police began to resource the Airport Policing Group in Cardiff Airport.
2002 – Chief Constable Anthony Burden received a knighthood at an Investiture in Cardiff Castle.
The need for vigilance to combat international terrorism saw police officers permanently deployed at Cardiff International Airport.
The Tarian (Shield) Initiative was set up in response by the 3 southern welsh forces to the growing threat from illegal drugs and organised crime gangs. The fight against drugs remains South Wales Police’s biggest priority.
2004 –Miss Barbara Wilding was appointed Chief Constable, the first ever female Chief Constable of South Wales Police and the first in Wales.
Miss Barbara Wilding, Chief Constable of South Wales Police
More Police Officers were returned to the beat in North and East Cardiff by merging Rumney and Llanishen police divisions. This new division was split into 5 sectors and followed an experiment in sector policing in the Rumney area which led to a fall in crime in 2003. A 5 pronged attack of Crime was launched in the St Mellons area reducing offences by 46% in just 4 months.
Police Officers get on their bikes in Canton and Cathays
A new team of cycling police officers took to the streets of Cardiff in the Canton and Cathays areas. The aim of the initiative was to enable police officers to respond to the needs of the community in an effective and highly visible manner. The bikes allowed officers to respond to call-outs in areas that other police vehicles may not be able to attend and increased contact between the public and officers.
2005 onwards – South Wales Police continues to achieve its policing objectives in Cardiff through bold, innovative initiatives. This year, violent crime is down by 8%, which will result in 318 fewer victims in the Capital.
The Cardiff after Dark scheme drafts in extra constables to Cardiff Central every Friday and Saturday night. By 7:30pm on a weekend evening, up to 15 extra uniform officers are on the beat fostering a visible reassuring presence.
The recently created AMEC team (Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign) has had huge success in the city centre. This team, a sergeant and two constables focus specifically on issues centred around alcohol related violent crime. This includes checking and maintaining the standard of the city’s many door staff to cracking down on underage drinking & anti-social behaviour and removing unlicensed taxis from the streets. A recent underage test purchase operation - the first ever conducted in Cardiff - found 9 licensed premises selling alcohol to a 15-year-old girl. The AMEC team aim to eradicate this kind of activity from the city centre.
The Targeting Alcohol Related Crime initiative sees South Wales Police working with key people from the casualty unit at the local hospital and the city’s pub and club managers through the licensee’s forum. This initiative has been identified as best practice nationally and a close working relationship with local licensees is seen as key to tackling incidents of drunkenness and violence. One of the biggest challenges the Force is yet to face is the implementation of the new licensing laws.
Cardiff is a vibrant, growing city - a city of which we can all be proud. With the prospect of a state-of-the-art Police Station being built in Cardiff Bay symbolising South Wales Police’s position at the heart of the Capital, the aim is to keep it that way by maintaining a safe environment for all who live, work and visit there.
South Wales Police Officers patrolling Cardiff’s Queen Street