Police calm fears after major brawl in Swindon town centre
5:30am Wednesday 28th May 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
POLICE are calling a 15-man brawl which left one man in hospital an ‘isolated incident’ and say violent crime in the town centre has dramatically reduced in the last two years.
Shortly before 4.30am on Sunday, officers were called to a fight outside Dream Lounge at the bottom of Victoria Road.
Upon arrival they found a group of men scrapping in the street. In the melee, one man was glassed in the face and was rushed to the Great Western Hospital resuscitation unit.
He is still in hospital with serious injuries to his face and leg but his condition is not thought to be life threatening.
Four men were arrested at the scene on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and have now been bailed. The men are aged 22, 24, 19 and 20.
The owner of the Dream Lounge, Pete Rogers, has said he is co-operating with the police and his venue is not implicated in the incident.
The police have said there is always a risk of violence when alcohol and large groups mix.
Acting Inspector Graham McLaughlin said: “In all the time I have been working in Swindon, I don’t ever recall an incident of this scale.
“There are cases involving two or three people but nothing with this many people.
“Over the last two years a huge amount has been done to combat violence and crime associated with the night-time economy and we now see far less incidents.
“When you compare Swindon with many other town centres then it is much safer. This follows hard work not only from the police but also the pubs and clubs themselves.”
Inspector McLaughlin also said incidents where glass was used as a weapon were much lower following the implementation of a designated drinking order across the whole of the town centre.
He said: “This means it is an offence to have alcohol in an open vessel, which means people are not allowed to walk around with their drink in a glass.
“This has worked very well at the bottom end of town so we have now extended it throughout the whole town centre and up to Old Town.
“On top of that almost all the larger venues use polycarbonate containers instead of glass.”
Police are still looking for witnesses to the fight, so anyone with information should call Swindon CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.