Holton Road, Barry

Street Problems in Barry

We had only been back in Barry, my home town for six months, but it didn’t take that long to realise that there were street problems that were unusual. At least, I wasn’t used to them, but then of the previous fifteen years, I had spent thirteen in Thailand and two in Spain. One of the first things that my wife and I noticed was the lack of a police presence on the streets. The second was the deserted streets after dark – a sign that suggested to us that the unsavoury ruled the streets during that period.

One afternoon, a friend, who seems to know a lot, told me that the night before, there had been only two police cars on duty in Barry – a town of 60,000 inhabitants. The lack of a visible police presence was beginning to make sense.

A few days later, a man, whom I also know well, told me that he had spent the last hour with an elderly lady, who had fallen over and cracked her head. My friend had phoned the emergency services, but it still took an hour for them to arrive.

And then, just before Christmas, I was sitting in a pub opposite a local supermarket, when a woman started to beat a young boy. He was six, seven, eight years of age. One of the men in the pub sprinted out, but the mother had already disappeared inside to do her shopping, leaving the boy crying in a huddle in a corner.

He phoned the police, comforted the boy and came back inside. When the boy ran off, the caller got cold feet and left, but the police never arrived, and the woman emerged from the shop and called a taxi. The police did not show up at all.

That is my experience of modern Barry – it has changed so much since I last lived here.

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Podcast: Street Problems in Barry