Every year Llanberis host a few great sporting events, the big three are the Snowdon Race, The Snowdon Marathon and the Slateman Triathalon. All three see thousands of competitors, supporters and spectators turn up and the village never looks so vibrant. Because of the arduous nature of these events they also attract a few great athletes and to me form the show pieces of what Llanberis has to offer.
Sadly for as long as I have lived here there has always been problems with youths often from small villages in the surrounding area who like to descend on Llanberis and get carried away drinking during the day and eventually as night descends fights often break out in the pubs and bars in Llanberis.
About two years ago I was giving a ML talk in the classroom above Pete’s Eats and gang of youths were having a running fight along the high street and there wasn’t a Police man in sight. Again not so long ago someone was stabbed in the Padarn Lake. First off we should blame those individuals who seem to think it fun and neccessary to spoil the great events that Llanberis hosts, however socail problems aside, it is as much a problem with the historic policing or lack of it.
This resulted in the Heights in Llanberis being shut on the evening after the race this year. Where for a time the Heights developed a reputation for bad behaviour, since its new management it has done great work to establish itself as a modern bar with good food and nice beer. In an effort to get rid of the elements that gave it that reputation it charges much more for food and drink than other pubs but as a result has managed to kick trouble into touch.
Despite this, they felt that opening on what could be one of their busiest nights of the year, they choose instead to close. One assumes to maintain their growing reputation for being a more family oriented pub. However I can’t help think that if the Police had successfully manage the situation that surrounds the big events in Llanberis then this situation won’t have had to occur at all.
A few years back, I was walking back from a friends house, the night someone got stabbed, and all there were on the high street were two Community Support Officers. Whilst a cheaper form of Policing, they lack the ability to actually arrest anybody, meaning that you put the power into the hands of yobs. Much like what occurred in the riots of last year when the sheer number of trouble makers handed power to yobs when the police failed to act quickly enough and with enough troops on the ground.
On subsequent events the policing has been much better, often with a Police survelliance vans parked on the high street mid way between the pubs. Last night was similar with an obvious Police presence and seemingly calm streets. The fact still remains that a business lacked the confidence in the Police to successful manage the situation and therefore closed.
In the main, you hear little of what happens to anyone causing trouble at these events and despite high profile calls for a zero tolerance on anti-social behaviour. The rural nature of community Police where support officers rather than police are tasked to the area means over the past few years a belief from those not so local yobs that travel into the area, that they can get away with causing trouble, means they do just that.
It would be nice if for the few nights these events happen that the North Wales Police forget ticketing the sportsmen’s cars and putting up speed traps and instead managed to sort out the problem of anti-social behaviour that surrounds the evenings after the event. Making very public arrests will no doubt serve as an effective deterent like the public court cases and draconian prison sentences that surrounded the london rioters.
As for me, well you can see that I was annoyed that it meant I couldn’t go for a pint yesterday evening!