Police response to Haverfordwest "siege" questioned
4:00pm Thursday 27th September 2012 in County News
Dyfed-Powys Police’s handling of the 26-hour stand-off which saw large parts of the town’s shopping centre cordoned off has been questioned by business owners, workers and shoppers.
Speaking on Saturday, Mags Optics manager Alex Devereux said: “The police haven’t got a liaison officer for businesses to keep us updated, so our staff have to stick around all day and can’t go home, which is pretty poor.
“We have got a clinic with about 40 clients on today and we can’t let them know it’s not on because the police won’t let us in to get our diary.”
Marina Davies, of Vawers Close, Haverfordwest, was in town on Saturday and said: “I just find it ridiculous that it’s taking so long. I’m not sure why but it’s very inconvenient.”
Riverside Market Cafe owner Tonia Williams added: “When I came down on Saturday morning, I was told if I wanted any information I would have to call 101 [the non-emergency police number], which wasn’t helpful at all.”
Cafe worker Keith Ashbolt said they were allowed to open first thing on Saturday morning, but were later told they had to close.
“We did not know how we were going to find any more information,” he added.
Shoe Zone manager Martin Toombs said he could not understand why police had allowed shops to stay open on Friday afternoon, but closed the whole of Bridge Street on Saturday.
Accessorize manager Anna Jones said she was on hold for twenty minutes when she rang 101, but said the police had been helpful and added: “I appreciate they have got to keep everyone safe.”
Card Factory manager Kirsten Gunner praised police and said: “Police contact was good – they did talk to us, but obviously nobody knew what was going on.”
“In the afternoon they told us there was no point sticking around, so we went home.”
Inspector Alan Millichip said: “As previously stated this was a complex incident that had to be handled very carefully by officers and specialist officers to ensure the situation was brought to a safe conclusion.
“We recognise that this incident has caused disruption to the local business community and members of the public going about their daily business during this period.
“However, early indications from the ongoing criminal investigation have indicated that appropriate steps were taken by officers in order to safeguard public safety, which was our number one priority.”