A relatively quiet New Year for police in Swindon

This Is Wiltshire: PubWatch vice chairman Danny Mason and Sgt Graham McLaughlin Buy this photo PubWatch vice chairman Danny Mason and Sgt Graham McLaughlin

NEW Year’s Eve went off with a bang in Swindon – but extra policing meant that it didn’t cause a headache for the authorities.

Thousands of people headed to the bars and clubs in the town centre to mark the new year, but it was a quieter night than previous years for the police.

During the course of the evening the police received 90 calls from the public, with about 30 of those being immediate response incidents.

This is more than quadruple the number of calls usually received by the police on a normal night, but the police have said it was not excessive for a big night like New Year’s Eve.

Three road accidents added to the night’s problems, with two cyclists injured in two separate crashes and a car colliding with parked cars in Colebrook Road, Stratton in the early hours.

A woman was also knocked over outside Suju nightclub at about 2.25am on New Year’s Day when she was hit by a man driving a red Honda Civic.

The woman was taken to hospital suffering with serious but not life-threatening or life-changing injuries, while the driver was arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

One of the biggest incidents of the night was in Gorse Hill, when police were called to a fight involving 10 to 15 people in Cricklade Road. One man was arrested on suspicion of assault with the police dispersing the rest.

Sergeant Graham McLaughlin of the town centre neighbourhood policing team, said: “It was a busy night but in comparison to previous years we did not receive as many calls as we have done.

“We had additional numbers in terms of police and staff out on New Year’s Eve and were busy from around midnight through to 4am.

“We had 90 calls to the police and around a third of those were what we call immediate response, so things like fights for example.

“On a normal night we receive between 15 to 20 calls.

“Since the PubWatch scheme has come into place it has been massively important to keeping trouble down.

“With the police and the licensed premises working together we can identify the trouble makers and nip it in the bud before things get out of control later in the night.

“Bouncers all have lists of people who are banned from pubs and they can access this on their PDAs and inform the police.

“I would be lying if I said that we did not have any trouble, but it is not like your big cities like Cardiff or Bristol and it has improved a lot in the six years that I have been doing the job.”

It has been reported that here were only five arrests from the town centre and Old Town in New Year’s Eve, mainly for minor drunken offences.

One arrest was for possession with intent to supply controlled drugs and one for assault, and there were a handful of reported incidents that are currently under investigation.

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