South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner Alun Michael wants freemasons in public bodies to declare their membership openly

South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner Alun Michael

South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael has stepped into the public row over the reductions in street-lighting carried out by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

In a public statement Commissioner Michael – the former Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth – who is standing for re-election as PCC on May 5th  –  says ” In general good street lighting improves both personal safety and road safety and helps to reduce crime” – but goes on to blame the Chancellor of the Exchequer for cash-saving cuts being made by local authorities like the Vale of Glamorgan Council .

He says “police officers will continue to carefully monitor the impacts of the changes to establish if there has been any increases in crime or safety that could be attributed to the lighting reduction. However, there is no such evidence at this moment in time.”

A South Wales Police poster highlighting car break-ins in Penarth this month

A South Wales Police poster highlighting car break-ins in Penarth last month appears to contradict Police Commissioner Alun Michael’s view of crime levels in Penarth

However Alun Michael’s comments appear to fly in the face of comments by his own officers.

On February 3rd 2016 Penarth Council was told  at its monthly crime briefing there had been a “big spike” in cases of theft from motor cars in the town. Penarth police issued a poster (see above) warning of the crime spate and  urged the owners of cars and vans in Penarth to be vigilant, to investigate suspicious noises or behaviour, to park in secure, private places such as driveways or garages and in “well-lit areas.”

Street lights in Penarth were installed automatic switches to turn them off after midnight

Most street lights in Penarth were installed with automatic switches to turn them off after midnight

Alun Michael says that as the Vale Council installs more LED units with relatively low energy costs, “there may be an opportunity for a number of the current part-night lighting areas to benefit from this type of LED lighting and return to the normal “dusk until dawn” operation.”

However Commissioner Michael says “frankly I would rather see some cuts in street lighting than have greater cuts in the youth service or leisure services or sport or music – because those cuts would also affect public safety as well as quality of life. I’d rather see modest reductions in street lighting than see greater cuts in care for the elderly or in library services – and that’s the choice that has to be made.”

Alun Michael claims  “all of us are trying hard to do more with less” . However the South Wales Police Precept has increased at a rate well over inflation in every year since he came to office. In 2013 it rose by 7%, in 2014 by 5%, in 2015 by 5% and this year 2016 will rise by 4%.





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  1. Willy Wonka says:

    Oh come on, correlation doesn’t mean cause or lack of it.

    The euro is weak against the dollar this past 6 months proves that a lower Euro to Dollar doesn’t cause more crime.

  2. Christopher David says:

    I’ll go along with the advice from the police. Mr Michael is of very limited experience. Frankly I’d rather see cuts in the Police Commissioners budget to help pay for good lighting.

    • pompousfruit says:

      And me too. What is the point of having elected Police Commissioners? There shouldn’t be cuts to libraries, highway repairs, social care or lighting. It’s bad enough when the LED street lamps are turned down let alone when the tungsten ones are turned off. I’ve seen the LED street lamps turned down before 10pm.

  3. I leave the people of Penarth to consider his statement, from my perspective poor street lighting has always been a harbinger of criminal activity. I wonder how difficult it would be to install motion detector lighting in the streets, I have it at my home and it works very well and only costs a small amount, imagine the lights coming on as you move along the street and then consider the criminal who can’t escape the light. Good street lighting is essential.

  4. M davies says:

    Perhaps Mr ‘Michael would have a different view if his street was one which has reduced lighting
    Or offering a reduction in his very generous salary to accommodate lighting costs would be welcome

  5. When I was in charge of the street squad in Cardiff many years ago, we all knew that the dark corners were where we should look, the properly lighted areas were a lot safer.

  6. Christopher David says:

    Well Mr Baker- the motion sensor idea may have great merit. IF its feasible on cost grounds apart from the fact it may help reduce crime its could help on cost grounds- savings on power and environmental grounds as light pollution is not good for our environment. This is where we need the thinking of experience and freedom from political pressure. Good idea, not one of the politico’s inc Mr Michael has anything original to to say (but they will now hah).

  7. Willy Wonka says:

    How about a headline that reads “Increase in police commissioner’s assistants does not cut crime”

  8. hopenotnasty says:

    More led units is the way forward. Well lit streets are better than dark. Plenty of past research to back this up. The problem 20+% cuts from Tory uk government. The public will all have different priorities and ideas what should be cut. Do not forget councils have a legal responsibility to balance the books.

  9. Hello Hopenotnasty: I agree with you, all local authorities have to save, but I do feel my idea has a lot of merit and could in the long run be a cost saver and help reduce crime.

  10. Christopher David says:

    Why do “we” not ask the VOG for a cost and effect exercise to be undertaken and posted?

  11. Needs says:

    I suppose Michael has to find the funding for his entourage of hangers on… After all, cronyism is of far more importance to him than an effective Police Force.

  12. hopenotnasty says:

    Hi, Michael Baker I am all in favour of good ideas. Maybe a letter to street lighting asking for their thoughts is the first step. Research whether this is up and running in any other local authorities in the Uk would also help. Good luck

  13. Nigel Bull says:

    A Micheae may well be correct on this one, much as it hurts to agree with him! As I have previously posted with evidence(unlike some above!!!!) Perception I will accept is quite different, which is another matter!

    Much of this discussion is effectively a result of the immature and slanted electricity market we currently have, where the power in pricing is with a few supplying companies. The Consumers Association and 38 degrees amongst others are trying to change this, but the time is not quite right for this yet. Electricity at night is almost “free” as the majority of the power stations are left idling with little demand and energy and therefore electricity being wasted. A few heads knocked together could sort this out, but it will probably have to wait until an internet based smart grid is in full swing to get the quantum leap required. Cars moving to battery power will drive(ho ho!) this over the coming years. Lord Ardonis has been talking of this today from another angle during his journey around the studios today.

    Once this technology is being used a barrage really will be cost effective, Hain was just ahead of his time.

  14. pompousfruit says:

    Some years ago the green movement was brainwashed into accepting reduced urban street lighting so they could spread the message thinking it was their idea to push for it. Some right wing policy think tank is behind the idea of cutting street lighting using clear starry skies as an excuse. We don’t get many clear starry skies even in the countryside because the skies are normally clouded over at night as well as in the day and if amateur astronomers want to look at the stars they can go out into a large park or the countryside.

  15. Christopher McGilvray says:

    Having worked the old docks for most of my service as a Police Officer, I can say good street lighting does reduce crime. During the late eighties the council improved lighting around the estate, it made a difference.
    I also remember when the council decided to switch off the lights on the link road from Cardiff Bay to the M4. With no hard shoulder to pull over an Articulated lorry broke down with electrical faults. (no vehicle lights ) A Saab motorcar ran into the rear killing all occupants. Had the lights been left on those folk would probably be alive today.
    I suggest Mr Alan Michael research some history, before giving his views on something he knows nothing about.
    God save us from a Politician running a Police Service.

  16. Ian Perry says:

    It is the OPINION of some police officers that lighting reduced crime. However, statistics regularly demonstrate that there isn’t a link between street lighting and crime. If no one is observing an area, and if there are signs of crime already, then there is a greater likelihood of another crime being committed in that area even if the area is well lit all night.

    There are multiple examples of street lights being switched off and crime rates falling.

    • Christopher McGilvray says:

      I would love to know where these multiple examples come from you have stated, I never saw any such thing, and I worked the streets for nearly 30 years.The residents of Butetown loved having their street lighting improved. Switch all the lights out in Cardiff bay then ask what the council tax payers think.
      Might be a good idea if people like Ian Perry got from behind their desk or armchair and ask what the residents think. Or better still have a walk through an estate at 0200hrs on his own.
      God save us from Politicians and armchair experts on policing and law and order..

  17. Christopher David says:

    So there we have- Alan Michael caught out on even the lost basic level. Shown u as an inept amateur. The other politico’s will be NO better! I suspect this post was created and is maintained as a political support “club. Please- an independent commissioner or no-one.

  18. Megabob says:

    Couldn’t care less about cars
    But with the state of the pavements in Station Road I’m sure I would have a good case against the council if I tripped and broke some bones

  19. Christopher David says:

    Against fellow citizens you mean Mega- councillors don’t pay for ineptitude.

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