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tv   BBC Wales Investigates  BBC News  July 25, 2021 12:30am-1:01am BST

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with surfing and skateboarding making their debut at the games. on day one of the games the host nationjapan picked up its first medals — winning gold and silver in judo. thousands of people in the western united states, are spending the weekend in evacuation centres, as wildfires continue to burn across the region. more than 80 large wildfires in 13 us states have burnt around 1.3 million acres in recent weeks. thousands of people have marched through the streets of the hungarian capital budapest, to mark the largest gay pride gathering in the country's history. it comes after viktor orban's right—wing government pushed through a law banning the portrayal or promotion of homosexual or transgender content to people under—18. now on bbc news —
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bbc wales investigates. emergency, police, please. smashing. oh my god, quick. there's hundreds of people here. you need to come quick or there's going to be something bad happening. cheering. at some point i expected to see riot police walking up that hill but they never came. the riot on a swansea estate shocked us all. a mob out of control — the police under attack. two months on, and questions are being asked — why did this happen and could it have been prevented? we've reached a point where things are starting to bubble over and the overwhelming response was just anger. tonight, there are calls for action. it needs to be exposed so that
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lessons can be learnt. we're not protected here. that's how we feel. things can go on and we wouldn't be protected in the worst—case scenarios. you just think how many times more can i allow my children adam romain has decided to move his family away from the mayhill estate in swansea. you just think how many times more can i allow my children to be exposed to this kind of thing. it's not been an easy decision to think "we've got to move on," to be honest with you. his home was at the centre of the riot there in may. what started as a peaceful wake for a teenager ended in scenes rarely witnessed in wales.
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they were coming down with bumpers lit up on fire. they were throwing it inside black vehicle. it used to be black vehicle, i pulled it out to try and stop the fire. adam had been working that night — when he received a frantic call from his partner. in the background i can hear the kids screaming and crying. immediately, pedal to the metal, and i was straight here. it felt like i was driving into a war zone. you could sense the atmosphere on the way up. you could see the bricks flying down. what i expected to find was ten times worse. this is my car, this my property, this is my family. shouting.
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that's when they were directly at me. i had bricks directly at my head. they were landing closer and closer, i ran inside to get some shelter. stay away from the windows. it's going to be ok, son, the door is closed. it's going to be all right, son. it's ok. i'm thinking that could explode, the houses could catch fire. the gas boxes are out the front. maybe the whole street could go up. don't worry, i'll be fine. i'm well protected. i'm armoured up, i've got a helmet up. it's ok, mum, i'll be fine. while adam stayed to protect his home from the mob outside, his mother came to rescue his two young children and his partner. i arrived and it looked like a scene out of beirut. i was just absolutely shocked. within feet of their houses,
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two burnt—out cars — which i found out later completely burnt out for three hours and exploded and in front of their homes. i took my grandchildren and brought them home here, with my daughter—in—law. the riot in mayhill has shocked everyone. home secretary priti patel described the scenes as "disgraceful", and first minister mark drakeford said they were "completely unacceptable". here on the estate itself, people are doing their best to get back to normal — but key questions remain. and among the most important ones — could this have been prevented and why did it happen?
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mayhill and townhill enjoy some of the best views in wales, and are collectively known as "the hill" — home to 9,000 people. some areas of mayhill are amongst the 10% most deprived areas in wales. you've got deprived communities that are geographically isolated even though they are within a couple miles of the most affluent areas in the city. basically, there's no reason... you don't really pass through. 0wen pillai was as a youth worker in one of the most challenging areas of swansea for nine years. you just can't look at it in isolation. itjust made me upset that we've reached a point where things are starting to bubble over and the overwhelming response wasjust anger with no kind of understanding of why
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it might be happening. are you surprised it escalated the way it did? i wasn't surprised. i was disappointed to see we had reached the point where this is now how people are expressing themselves. according to statistics, the deprivation indicators of most concern in mayhill are employment, income, education and health. 120 over 70. is that good? that's perfect. steph long is a nurse practitioner at the gp surgery in mayhill — and she sees a wide range of patients with complex needs. some as young as primary school. early 20s, early 30s, predominantly.
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yes. what kind of thing are they presenting with? depression, anxiety, substance abuse and misuse. self—harm. everything that comes part and parcel with that, really. there was so much help before the pandemic, which has obviously had to stop because of the restrictions put in place, unfortunately. and people have been left for longer. the mental health team was already over—stretched, and now you can add a year and a half waiting on to what they originally had. steph says she needs more resources. adam and his family have lived on the estate for four years, and he says most of the time there was little trouble.
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it seemed an ok place to live, as far as i was concerned. everybody around here is very friendly, you know? people with kids meet each other at the park and we chat. after going through such an awful experience, it was the community's reaction which lifted adam's spirits. oh, that was amazing. that brought people together so much. it showed us more what people can do when they band together for a constructive, positive sense. and i think that's shown its much more powerful what people can do when they band together to cause destruction. adam has a young family, but most people we've spoken to on the estate say there is precious little for teenagers and young adults to do here. in neighbouring townhill, i met skateboardersjohan and joe.
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not much happens here. people don't care about what happens here that much. everyone cares about what happens in the popular areas. there's not much to do here at all. what did you think about what you saw the other night, the trouble over in mayhill? i was surprised by it, cos, what the hell, it's round the corner from me. but i wasn't completely shocked — i'm used to it sort of thing. i've been to different areas and people set on cars on fire as a celebration. it's sort of like second nature now round here. there's always trouble, to be fair. there's always trouble. drugs, crime, stuff like that. former youth worker 0wen says some young people on the estate can face a very stark choice. if you have the capacity to earn £1500, £2000 a week
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involved in drugs or someone then comes to you and says we can get you back into education. in two years�* time you'll be qualified to a level that will allow you to go out and compete in thejob market for a job that earns potentially £2,000 a month then you have to take away taxes cost of transport. it's a very hard sell for someone who is responsible for feeding their family. why do you think it happened? i think it's been the perfect storm. it's decades and decades of chronic social depravation mixed with a global pandemic. young people forced to isolate, and then the tragic death of one of their friends.
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it's notjust mayhill where we have seen frustrations with lockdown, and sometimes that's resulted in disorder. we are getting a number of things coming together that suggest this summer is going to be particularly difficult. martin innes is a criminologist who has studied and written policies on neighbourhood policing. you've got, people can't go away, some people have been kind of cooped up together for long periods of time, you see crime and disorder generally rise over the summer, spring and summer months anyway, and then on top of that we've got layered in these extra factors, it really
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could be a bit tricky. i see it as part of a pattern where we are seeing violence erupt — of different kinds. but i think this is one of a number of incidents we have seen. 0n the night of the disturbance in may, adam says he made at least three 999 calls to police in the hope they would come and help his family. emergency — which service? the emergency call handler appears to reassure adam that the police are on their way. emergency — the police, please. oh, my god! quick! stay back. hello. the riot — they've started to target my house. there's two cars on fire right in front of my house. yes, two. i'm having bricks thrown at me. what do you want me to do?
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there's hundreds of people here. you need to come quick — there's going to be something bad happening. quick! we've got police officers there. they are at the bottom of the hill. they're right here — they're three doors away from me. how many of you at the address? four of us. two adults and two infants. a four—year—old and a one—year—old baby. we are aware of the situation. they're not doing enough. we need the riot police, orsomething. they are at the bottom of the hill. this is why you need the police goddamnit. they've smashed through my front window, they smashed through my front door. no fear whatsoever. the police were nowhere to be seen. just correct that a little bit — there was one van, patrol at the bottom of the hill and that was it. bbc reporter rhys williams filmed the aftermath on his phone, and as he left
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he went past the nearest police station, in townhill — just a mile from the riot. well, it'sjust gone 11 o'clock. at some time i expected to see a barrier of riot police walking up that hill driving them away. but it never came. some police were nearby but they found themselves under attack and were forced to retreat.
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the lack of police at the scene left the mob to rampage unchecked, claim adam and his mum christina. they are fearless there's nothing there to threaten them. and that's where i would have expected — even if a helicopter above, they think. "let's move it." something should have happened to disperse them at this stage. like you said, they've got no fear of anything coming. no retaliation coming their way. no. how can anything be left to burn for hours like that and no services turn up? that is absolutely abominable. mid and west wales fire service says it took a tactical decision not to commit fire crews to avoid further escalation of the situation. but it's the police response
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that night that adam and his family feel most let down by. they gave some explanations, but to be quite honest with you, nothing was satisfactory. there was some individual officers they apologised. they accept that there was a failing on that side. they have said that have they? yeah, some individual officers, yeah. so, from an individual perspective nothing against it. as a whole massively disappointed for the response as a whole. "do you want a croissant with that, orjust a cuppa?" "yeah, i could have a croissant, yeah." there was no monitoring of the situation. they went back and forth and took the bricks from the wall and carried on. i'm ringing the emergency services time and time again. they tell me they are aware of it. the neighbours rang the emergency services.
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three hours they were left in turmoil. three hours. christina feels strongly that her family was failed and action needs to be taken. we pay our taxes and we expect to live with a certain amount of security. this is an extreme inaction, failing and people should be made accountable. this requires a public inquiry because i would not like this to happen to anyone else in wales. the authorities called out on the night are now investigating what happened. south wales police is carrying out its own review into its actions — headed by chief sutho maal. i can fully appreciate that the people living on waun wen road, and the surrounding areas, this would have been a terrifying experience for them. in terms of the response, we will look at all of these aspects. what calls were made to us
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and over what period of time we responded. but that will become apparent in due course. of course one of the allegations made against the police is that the police response that night was wholly inadequate. and that for the space of two or three hours there wasn't a sufficient police response. do you accept people have reason to be disappointed? i'll look at all aspects of it. so, mobilising resources, notjust from the immediate area but from across the force, which is something obviously we can do. i'll be looking at command decisions. and decisions as to when, where and how resources were deployed to the scene. seven police officers suffered minor injuries as they tried to confront the mob — with reports of up to 200 people at the scene. while the police were forced back by the crowd, some
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locals took the matter into their own hands. as the police withdrew — a number of local men, including a former boxing professional — walked down the street and confronted the mob. those local residents — who are well respected in the community — told us that the crowd ran away in all directions. and, they say, that was the end of the trouble. but we've discovered that there was an earlier incident with some parallels a few months ago which also shocked many residents in this street. back in february we had an incident which was about 2am. a vehicle was taken from the top of the hill and basically free wheeled down, come flying down and smashed through this barrier. that's the stolen car which
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came flying down the hill. it hit both and landed in that diagonal way across the road. the community we'd got together and we started discussing whether we should just buy ourselves the concrete barriers and just put them there. the police and the council would have known now because of this event that there is a danger and the bollards were not going to protect very much. that issue as i'm aware was isolated. there was a much bigger discussion going on around motorcycles about people being able to cycle fast up and down the hill. the leader of the council insists there were plans in place to prevent anti—social behaviour on the road — but they hadn't yet been introduced. that meant we were looking at a much different solution tojust putting a bollard in. we are looking at a park
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and play area, a re—greening of the whole area — a complete break in the area between this road and that road. the solution that was being worked up was one that was a much better solution for the community. i don't hold to the premise even putting these in would have prevented somebody trying to role a car down if they were intent on criminal activity on that evening. amongst the 30 arrests by police were young adults, teenagers and even children. and it's that younger generation that many people say are in need of a helping hand. they can come here — there's 60, 70 kids here a night that's not roaming the roads, playing, you know, silly buggers with people's cars, or malicious damage. they're in here and they're learning a little bit of a skill and a little
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bit of respect. stephen crocker is a former boxer, now a coach at the local club. without this where would you be? you'd be on the streets at night, nothing to do and that's what they do — they're roaming the roads with nothing to do. terry here has helped thousands of kids over the years. it teaches you a lot of discipline. especially after training you are so tired you can't be bothered to go round the streets up to no good. there's literally kids these days got no respect cause no—one gets disciplined enough. theyjust don't have nothing to do so when they come up the gym, not everyone's too scared to come up the gym. but if they come up here, as soon as you walk through the doors you're not scared any more you're fine. are you proud of where you come from? well, yeah. i know a lot of good people up here have been given a bad name — it was like on the national news wasn't it. there's good people doing good things not given the same publicity. you get the few burning cars
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and trashing the place and they are giving it nationwide. and i don't think that's fair. stephen believes a lack ofjob prospects on the estate can lead to problems. that's why they're alcohol and drugs and mischievous behaviour is going on. they are not happy. in general, when people find a job and find some work they grow as people. and in this area that's missing. the police and council are already holding their own investigations into what happened. and now an independent review has been announced on top of that. funded by the welsh government, it is hoped it will report before the end of the summer. the key thing is that independent inquiry, which i was very keen should happen as soon as possible, is answering the questions the community were asking us the day after the event. they want to know what lead up
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to it, what everybody did to respond to it and what happens to try to prevent it happening again? those are three sort of areas it will look at. there will be and there has been significant investment in mayhill, townhill and gors. that investment has gone in but we're on a journey to try and shore up the community, to support it, to help it to recover as we come out of the covid pandemic. those families caught up in the riot welcome the review but hope that it will go further and tackle some of the deep—rooted problems in the area. nobody should accept that services do not function because we pay good money for these services and everybody wants to live well. and we've had a year of difficulty for everybody and these are important services so that this does not happen again. so that we stop it in the bud if that's possible — and i always think it's
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possible. it has been an emotional roller—coaster. for a long time i was blaming myself for all of it. i was thinking this is my fault for bringing the children here, for bringing the family here. i'm still concerned for the people left behind who can'tjust get up and leave so easily. but adam's mind is made up, and reluctantly, he's decided to move on. there's the memories of all the good stuff that has happened, together with the bad. and i've had to re—question myself about the decisions. i came to the conclusion that if i did stick around and trust that things are going to be better now and things
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like that this won't happen again and it did i don't think i'd be able to forgive myself for the children going through it again. that's my main motivation to move. good morning. the weather story is becoming a little bit more volatile over the next few hours. we run the risk of some sharp and thundery downpours, starting off in south—east england and then across the whole of southern england as we go through the day, some heavy with some hail and some thunder mixed in there. they will be moving up from the near continent, as i say, towards kent and essex and then they will drift their way steadily westwards. one or two perhaps cropping up in east anglia and the east midlands as well, so the best of the sunshine for sunday looks likely
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to continue across scotland and northern ireland. the odd isolated shower here cannot be ruled out but that is where we will see the highest temperatures, perhaps peeking through the afternoon, 25 or 26 degrees, that is near to the high 70s. as we move out of sunday, for the rest of the week ahead, it does look likely that the temperatures will start to ease somewhat, so gradually turning a little bit cooler. heavy showers around to begin with but hopefully some sunny spells by the end of the week.
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this is bbc news. i'm sarah mulkerrins, live in tokyo, where day 2 of the olympics is now underway. surfing and skateboarding are both making their 0lympic debuts today at the games. on day 1, the host nation, japan, picked up its first medals, winning gold and silver injudo. i'm lewis vaughan jones, in london. the rest of the day's headlines: wildfires in northern california force thousands into evacuation centres, while a covid outbreak in oregon puts firefighters into quarantine. thousands of hungarians join the annual pride march and protest against a new anti—lgbt law.

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