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Statement by Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales

Last Updated: 28/05/2023

The death of two teenage boys, Kyrees Sullivan and Harvey Evans, in Ely last Monday was a terrible tragedy and my deepest condolences and thoughts are with their families and friends.

The violence and damage that took place the same evening was truly shocking so our thoughts must also be with the residents who were put in fear and danger as well as with the police officers who were injured.   

Ely is a warm community with great strengths as well as its challenges and it is very sad for it to be in the public eye for all the wrong reasons.  It is vital for those strengths to be recognised and for every organisation with a part to play to support community leaders in bringing people in the area together to rebuild confidence and moving forward collaboratively.  That was the clear message emerging from the meeting on Friday chaired by the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, who himself represents the area in the Senedd.

Those present included elected representatives at every level along with the leadership of Cardiff Council and Welsh Government, and we all recognised the need to draw on the strengths and local knowledge of residents and voluntary leaders in developing a community plan for Ely that will address the long-term needs of residents and focus on actions and outcomes for people in Ely and Caerau.

That is not to ignore the significant concerns about the interaction between police and the two boys prior to the collision taking place, which has rightly been passed from South Wales Police to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) to investigate.   As the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, one of my responsibilities is to hold the Chief Constable to account and I take that responsibility very seriously indeed, but the IOPC provides an additional layer of independence when that is needed. 

There is no justification for the violence and damage to the community on Monday evening which brought fear to residents and in which police officers were injured.  Investigations have already led to a number of arrests with further investigations ongoing. Those who took part in the violence simply do not represent the people of Ely and their actions have cast a dark shadow over this proud community.

Members of my team and the local policing team will work hard with partners and with the community to build trust and confidence while making a positive and lasting difference for the area. Recovery after an event of this sort takes time, effort and patience and it will not be easy for the local community, for the police, for the council and or for elected representatives.

There is no clear cause or justification for the violence but there are clearly issues that are contributory factors that are deep-seated and which require long-term organisational commitment and investment.  They had been highlighted by local community leaders and elected representatives on many occasions long before the events of last Monday.  That is why we are already involved in work locally and why there is a need for the UK Government to invest more in supporting work to give hope and opportunity to many of our local communities across the UK.  The challenges, the social and economic issues and the worries in the community of Ely are replicated in many other areas.  They are clear and obvious and they need to be addressed.

In the meantime we have all made a commitment to pull together to do the best we can with the resources available to us and to support local residents in rebuilding resilience and confidence locally - while also bearing in mind the need for two grieving families to receive support and answers to their questions as quickly as possible. Our shared commitment was spelt out in a formal Statement by Jane Hutt, the Minister for Social Justice, which his included below.

What we do and what we are doing

It is clear from some of the Media comments in particular that there are some who do not understand the important role played by a Police & Crime Commissioner and what we are doing as a team in South Wales - so here is a very brief summary.

The responsibilities of the Police & Crime Commissioner include:

  • Appointing the Chief Constable.
  • Reflecting the expectations of the public in a the Police and Crime Plan for South Wales.
  • Holding the Chief Constable to account for the Force’s delivery, performance and integrity
  • Setting the South Wales Police budget
  • Promoting partnership with Local Councils and others to reduce crime and prevent harm.
  • Providing support services for victims of crime.
  • Understanding and seeking to address the concerns of the public.

 High Performance and Service to the Public

In carrying out these duties, it is important to respect the operational independence of the Chief Constable in a relationship of respect and mutual challenge.

In the 10 years since I was first elected by the people of South Wales, I have worked with three inspirational Chief Constables, two of whom I appointed, and as a result South Wales Police is recognised as one of the highest performing forces in England and Wales.

That includes these national rankings for England and Wales:

1st for taking action on Violence with Injury

1st for taking action on Rape Investigation

1st for taking action on all other sexual offences

1st for investigating Residential Burglary

*National Crime Statistics – Home Office, 2022

My own team is recognised for outstanding leadership and innovation, tackling some of the most difficult issues of our time - for example…….

  • Driving work to tackle violence against women and girls
  • Supporting the victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse.
  • Challenging, the perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse through the Drive programme which we now deliver across all seven local authority areas in South Wales.
  • Helping offenders to come off drugs through the Dyfodol programme would which is delivered jointly with the probation service in all three prisons in South Wales, as well as in the community.
  • Intervening early with women offenders - who are often also victims - to offer positive alternatives to a cycle of crime.

We have made local neighbourhood policing a priority in South Wales

We now have 447 PCSOs working in communities across South Wales funded, partly by Welsh Government and partly from our own South Wales Police funds.  Some forces in England now have no PCSOs whereas we have recently reached full strength. 

Just to be clear,  the job of a PCSO is …….

  • To listen to the local community and understand your concerns.
  • To solve local problems and to address those concerns.
  • To enable the local community to work together for the common good

Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan has recently restructured his teams to make neighbourhood policing truly effective across South Wales, based on listening to communities and on early intervention and prevention.

Working with local resources, we have rebuilt our capacity for Community Safety Partnership work across South Wales after the devastating cuts in our Police Grant made by the Home Office since 2013.

As a team, we responded positively to the challenge of COVID-19, working in new ways and cooperating to prevent harm.

We have played a leading role in looking for ways of improving the criminal justice system – locally and across Wales – for instance, playing an important part in tackling racism in the criminal justice system and in Policing.

Looking to the long term

Each of these examples are worthwhile in themselves (and they are just examples) but none of them happen overnight and there is so much more to do.  They are nevertheless an important part of the way that we have been working to improve policing and the quality of life for communities across South Wales.

Is everything perfect? No, it certainly isn’t - and there’s a long way to go.

Policing is one of the most difficult and challenging services to deliver in a difficult and imperfect world in which there are so many social and economic challenges facing us and all our partners as well as our communities. But “the first responsibility of the Police is to prevent crime” and the statistics show that many aspects of offending in South Wales are lower than would be predicted by the demographics.  That is based on Home Office methodology but while that is good, there is absolutely no complacency as we work together on a programme of cooperation aimed at continuous improvement. 

My aim is to do everything I can to make not just Policing, but the whole criminal justice system in Wales, the most efficient, the most effective and the fairest it can possibly be.  That’s an important commitment to individuals and communities in every part of South Wales.

The Statement by Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice, following a meeting chaired by the First Minister



A Community Plan for Ely and Caerau


26 May 2023


Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip

Following the tragic death of Harvey Evans and Kyrees Sullivan on Monday evening and the disorder in Ely, the First Minister and I today held a meeting in Ely, with representatives of the local community, Action in Caerau and Ely, the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, the chief executive and leader of Cardiff Council, the MP for Cardiff West and local councillors.

We began our meeting with a moment of reflection for Harvey and Kyrees. Two families are grieving for their sons and the people of Ely and Caerau have experienced a collective trauma. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of Harvey and Kyrees.

The meeting was not designed to examine the events of Monday evening or to trespass into the territory of the Independent Office of Police Conduct investigation but to discuss how we can collectively support the community. 

All the agencies around the table recognise the distress felt by local people and have committed to jointly sponsor a grassroots-led initiative to create a community plan for Ely, which will respond to the long-term needs of residents. It will be focused on actions and outcomes for people in Ely and Caerau.

The First Minister and I were clear this work will be done in genuine partnership with the people of Ely and Caerau. We want to listen, to learn and to draw on the strengths and local knowledge of residents and respond to their concerns.

We also agreed to explore what we can do together to provide more immediate support for children and young people over the summer months.

To support this community-led work it was agreed that I will chair a reference group which will bring together the local authority, schools, primary care services, youth justice services,  the police, other relevant agencies, and the voices of children and young people as a resource for those developing the community plan.

We were all clear that this group would fully respect and engage with existing local and regional partnerships. I will provide further detail about this in due course.

The work we do in Ely and Caerau will help inform wider programmes to engage with and support other communities across Wales.

We are determined that this Community Plan will ensure the local community in Ely and Caerau can recover from the events of this week.

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