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Ely riot: Drakeford defends police and crime commissioner’s ‘no chase’ comments

24 May 2023 3 minute read
Mark Drakeford picture by Matthew Horwood / PA Wire.

The First Minister has defended a police and crime commissioner (PCC) who gave interviews denying officers had been following two teenagers on a bike minutes before they were killed in a road accident.

Mark Drakeford suggested Alun Michael, the PCC for South Wales, was “entitled” to rely on information supplied to him by South Wales Police in the aftermath of the fatal collision in Ely, Cardiff.

Mr Michael had given interviews denying there had been a pursuit but was contradicted within hours by video footage showing a marked police van following two boys on a bike.

He later said he had been “assured and I am still assured youths were not being chased by the police at the time of the road traffic accident”.

Mr Drakeford said calls for Mr Michael to quit were to “trivialise the reaction to these tragic events” and defended his comments.

“I’m not quite sure when he gave his interviews in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday morning, he was relaying the best information that had been given to him,” he told the BBC.

“Now that information will be testing the wider context of what happened, not at that catastrophic car accident itself, but the moments leading up to it.

“I’m very determined not to turn anything that happened in Ely into a political football involving individuals.

“There are families that are grieving, there is an estate that needs time to recover, our thoughts should be with them and what we can do for them, not trying to turn this into some dispute about individuals and personalities.”

Investigation

Mr Drakeford said people must wait for South Wales Police to be investigated before making a judgment but said the force had “repair work to be done” between themselves and the Ely community.

“There are questions for police to answer, we know they have referred themselves to the independent investigation service, we must allow that to do its job,” he said.

“Then I think we will have the full facts available, and people will then be able to make a rounded judgment about the way the police responded to the events on Monday evening.”

The First Minister, whose Cardiff West constituency includes Ely, added: “My main thoughts were of just profound sorrow for two young lives that have been lost and their families and their friends, and everything it will mean to them.”

He blamed the Conservative Government for the underlying causes of the disorder as it has “cut budgets” and “created poverty”.

͏”The Ely riots of 1991 happened 13 years into a Conservative government that had cut budgets, neglected those sorts of areas, created poverty and led to those events,” he told the BBC.

“Here we are, 13 years again into a Conservative Government at Westminster that has done exactly the same things.

“Lack of investment in fundamental services, including the police themselves, plays its part in the events that we saw on Monday night.”

When pressed again as to whether Labour has any responsibility, Mr Drakeford replied: “Every service has questions to answer, whoever they are run by.”


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George Thomas
George Thomas
9 months ago

He is good at striking the right tone in difficult moments.

We want everyone in Wales to be best versions of themselves, every community and every service too. It’s tragic that two young boys don’t have the chance now to make the best of themselves and we need to find out why while not making it impossible for our communities or services to be best versions of themselves.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
9 months ago
Reply to  George Thomas

In what way is this “good”? The commissioner has contradicted himself a number of times now.

Drakeford is right to say that we should wait for the outcome of the inquiry. He is utterly wrong to defend the commissioner however. He’d be better saying nothing at all about the commissioner. It smacks of the old boys club standing up for the potentially corrupt British institutions.

Any respect I had for Drakeford has now evaporated.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
9 months ago

Hardly a surprise to see Mark Drakeford defending his labour party colleague – when has Drakeford ever departed from his party’s script? Afraid to say Drakeford is the very epitome of a dreary party functionary who puts out whatever message he’s instructed to by his party. But the fact of the matter is that on successive days Alun Michael has gone on the airwaves to give a version of the events – and each time new information has contradicted his statements. How on earth can Michael’s position as PCC for South Wales continue to be tenable?

Last edited 9 months ago by Leigh Richards
wayne
wayne
9 months ago

Lies, Lies, and Denials!!! Alun Michael, Supported By Mark Drakeford, what a comedy double act. The Camera does not lie!!!! Police Not in pursuit !!! Camera says otherwise. Pursuit vehicle 1/2 mile away at time of accident!!!! Police admit Pursuit vehicle first on scene!!! Time for the clowns Michael and Drakeford have to leave the Circus. Time to call an election Plaid Cymru 82 recommendations, 13 SM’s under the microscope, 30 Labour SM’s led by a lire, A lire of a police Commissioner. Mismanagement. Wales deserves better.

Karl
Karl
9 months ago

Should shut up and let an investigation happen. Defending his chum and the police when under investigation is political stupidity. Have the splinters from the fence firmly in the bottom and await the outcome, to gain the public confidence

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
9 months ago

So the police are covering this one up even after contradicting themselves at every step, covering for their own like every time they screw up. And that spineless wonderboy Drakeford wheeled out on cue to provide damage control.

I’ll remember this come the next GE.

CapM
CapM
9 months ago

What Alun Michael said isn’t really the issue. He was elected as the Police and Crime Commissioner and the first sentence of his official job description is-

“The role of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account. ”

His role is not to act as a spokesperson for South Wales Police and furthermore in situations such as this he should not issue statements based solely on information the police have supplied him with. .

Last edited 9 months ago by CapM
SundanceKid
SundanceKid
9 months ago
Reply to  CapM

Except he is not holding the Police to account, he is defending them, even when evidence shows that he should not!

Erisian
Erisian
9 months ago

I’m no fan of the police or CPS – but have none of the commentators ever been in a situation where they repeated something they had been told in good faith, only to then find out they had been misinformed?

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
9 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

Yes – but I have not stuck blindly to those statements in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.

What would be wrong with reserving judgement until you have heard all the evidence?

This smacks of the “old boys club” defending Britain’s institutions no matter what.

Riki
Riki
9 months ago

Japan have laws in place to stop this happening. They have laws that stop police from chasing people in vehicles within urbanised areas, for obvious reasons. You may cause the very thing you are trying to avoid. But he in Wales, we are a bit daft.

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