Author Topic: Jan 11th 2015 - Swindon Police Investigate Serious Sexual Assault In Muggers Alley  (Read 10853 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Hat-Tip to Flic Wiltshire

http://www.flicwiltshire.com/News/Crime/Police-seek-witnesses-after-serious-sexual-assault-in-Swindon-.aspx#.VLLmHHv-XSh


Quote
Wiltshire Police have begun an investigation after an 18-year-old woman was the victim of a serious sexual assault in Swindon late on Saturday evening.

The woman, who is from the Swindon area, told officers she was walking through the underpass between Station Road and the Oasis leisure centre when the assault took place.

Police were alerted just after midnight and the underpass was sealed off for several hours to allow scenes of crime officers to search for evidence.

Det Insp Mark Power, who is leading the investigation, said: “We are investigating a serious sexual assault which  occurred between 10pm and midnight in the underpass.

“I am very keen to hear from anyone who was near to the underpass or who walked through the underpass during those times.

“Anyone with information is asked to call Wiltshire Police on 101.”



We can waste millions of pounds on political vanity projects, we can 'invest' large amounts of the folding green into a town centre CCTV system to watch the piss heads give each other a kicking on Friday and Saturday nights.....

.....but Swindons mugging & murder hotspot remains an unobserved and unmonitored sore on the body politic.   



Offline Tobes

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ANOTHER serious incident?!  :santa_shocked:

Good grief.  :santa_cry:

Which councillor was it who popped out of the woodwork and tried to claim that the media were over sensationalising the dangers posed by this location?

I hope he has cause to pause and think a little harder.

Something really needs to be done and urgently.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Muggins

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Just when I thought it was about time I gave it another go.

In the absence of proper CCTV I might get myself one of those dashboard/helmet cameras. But would that make a difference if they came up from behind and/or would I have to carry a large double sided/cubed notice that said I was protected by CCTV?

As there is, or was, such a thing as a mobile CCTV - i.e. a temporary mobile one, surely this is the place to at least try it out.  Though the path is long enough to warrant several.

The only reason I haven't given it another go is that they keep closing and opening Northern Road, and if the roads are closed, usually so are the dropped kerbs and of course, big white vans parked on pathways. Seems to be an epidemic of that lately. 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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I've been doing a bit of reading regarding street lighting and cctv systems and their effects on crime and the fear of crime.  I don't claim expert status but, on balance, I believe Muggers Alley needs to be:

  • Much better lit

  • Properly patrolled

  • Properly observed by a fit-for-purpose CCTV system

  • Properly addressed by Borough Councillors

I don't know what other members & readers think but I've run out of patience with our councils 'Ass-Backwards' way of doing things.  A shed-load of tax-payers cash has been spent on making the Western Flyer a 'Branded' cycle and pedestrian route - including 'guided walks', marketing materials and promotional activities but it seems [abbr]=Sweet Feck-All]SFA[/abbr] has been spent on improving and ensuring the safety of those same tax payers who wish to use it.

It's a good and useful route but, when its users are murdered, mugged and sexually assaulted, our council has done, and is doing, what exactly?

   




Offline Geoff Reid

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It's a good and useful route but, when its users are murdered, mugged and sexually assaulted, our council has done, and is doing, what exactly?


   
This, apparently...




Inspector Paul Saunders from the Town Centre Team said:

Quote from: Inspector Paul Saunders
"There have been lots of changes recently to make this underpass a safer place to be, including the installation of CCTV cameras at each entrance. We will be putting in extra patrols in the local area and we would encourage people to be vigilant in the area and report anything suspicious to police.

“We continue to work hard to make Swindon a safe place for the public and we need their continued support. I work closely with Swindon Borough Council and this continues to be a positive relationship where we work together to overcome these challenges and threats to the safety of our town centre."


It would be interesting to know what the frequency of patrols which actually perambulate or cycle the route from Station Road to Great Western Way, before and after the murder, and before and after this latest incident.

As I've said before, I have never met a police officer on the Western Flyer except when they have been there investigating a crime.  I'm hoping that 'Patrol' doesn't mean "We drive past both ends of it and look in".

Offline Spunkymonkey

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In the absence of proper CCTV I might get myself one of those dashboard/helmet cameras. But would that make a difference if they came up from behind and/or would I have to carry a large double sided/cubed notice that said I was protected by CCTV?

The attacker will just bash you over the head and steal the camera. Better to be safe and avoid the area altogether after dark.

Offline Spunkymonkey

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As I've said before, I have never met a police officer on the Western Flyer except when they have been there investigating a crime.  I'm hoping that 'Patrol' doesn't mean "We drive past both ends of it and look in".

This happened between 10pm and midnight on Saturday night. I imagine that the entire police force would have been dealing with alcohol fuelled patrons boosting the night time economy in Fleet Street and thereabouts.

Offline Tobes

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What was it Des Moffat was saying this summer...?  :santa_sad:

Quote
Opinion in todays paper regarding the murder near the Cycle Track is simplistic and wrong. The name that journalists have applied to the area in the last few days has never been used by anyone before. Yes there have been occasional incidents over the years but no more than any other similar area where bad people can make their escape.
It is also wrong regarding whether anyone sought to have CCTV installed, we did. Indeed we succeeded, not as well as we had hoped for but it is there. Where was the Adver when those who object to using CCTV on libertarian grounds were objecting I wonder. Life is too short to bother reading back numbers but I do wonder. I might find an article in support of the ‘reclaim the streets campaign’ as well.
I think it is important that this Cycle Track continues to be well used which itself improves security. It forms part of the Western Flyer cycle route and is a very important route for non-motorised access to the town centre. Misnaming it and stoking up fear is not good journalism, quite the reverse. Nor is it good journalism to abuse the privileged position the local paper holds in having access to say what it wants without proper research of the subject. Yes we want more and better CCTV provided all understand monitoring the cameras is too expensive and they serve mostly in deterrence and detection. Whether CCTV would have an effect in this case or on previous cases any accused person may have been involved in, we shall have to wait for the Police and the Courts to do their stuff.
Talk Swindon lists many examples of the local paper failing in their duty as part of the free press to properly investigate issues and in most cases ignoring them completely.
My colleagues and I were contacted by local reporters but we did not subscribe to the blame game , criticize the Police or the Tory Council and we were not reported. For us, the wellbeing of our community and support for the Police is more important than band wagon publicity.
Adver, do the job properly or , “Just shut the (expletive deleted) up.”

I don't think its the paper failing in its duty, Des... I think its a public service to point out the danger.

Would you care to re-assess whether this alley deserves its reputation, or not?  :-\
« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 10:46:37 PM by Tobes »
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Geoff Reid

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Apparently someone at SBC has decided that a £10,000,000 (10 million) pedestrian foot bridge is the answer, but it will have to wait until HMG agrees to fund it as part of a wider regeneration scheme. 

I'm not convinced a footbridge is the answer.  There aren't many better deterrents to ne'er do wells, or a confidence inspiring sight for the law-abiding, than the physical presence of a security guard or police officer.

Dare I point out that a 24hr (2 person) security presence based inside the underpass, complete with heated wooden hut and a couple of quad bikes to patrol the entire length of Muggers Alley would probably cost less than £1,000,000 over 10 years.

The plain fact is that Muggers Alley has now devolved into a Murderers & Rapists Row and any delay into making it a zero-crime area is as unacceptable.  It could, and probably will, be argued that the muggings, assaults, attempted murder, actual murder and rape are 'statistical blips' but, personally speaking, I don't want to wait and see, I'd rather see it made safe without delay.


Offline Spunkymonkey

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I am not convinced that a footbridge would make much difference.

Firstly, the muggings are not confined to the underpass. The underpass is relatively visible from the road. The whole path needs looking at.

Secondly, the footbridge won't be particularly open and visible. It will likely be enclosed or have high parapets because the railway line will have overhead electrification.

I think this is just a case of Justin jumping on a bandwagon as the idea of a footbridge has been on and off the table for about 30 years.

Offline Tobes

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Hmmm, swapping a Muggers Alley for a Suicide's Footbridge doesn't seem like much of a 'solution' to me...

And ten million quid?! Whats it going to be made out of?! Platinum?!!!
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Weebleman

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Hmmm, swapping a Muggers Alley for a Suicide's Footbridge doesn't seem like much of a 'solution' to me...

And ten million quid?! Whats it going to be made out of?! Platinum?!!!

Makes the much needed Thamesdown Drive extension look good value for money.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Hmmm, swapping a Muggers Alley for a Suicide's Footbridge doesn't seem like much of a 'solution' to me...

And ten million quid?! Whats it going to be made out of?! Platinum?!!!

Makes the much needed Thamesdown Drive extension look good value for money.

Heresy warning:

If they're really going to build an extension to Thamesdown Drive why not sell the land along its route for housing and industrial use and have the developers build the extension road as part of the development - zero financial cost to the taxpayer*

*I haven't given any though whatsoever to the enviromental implications here.


Anyhow, I have some further thoughts on Muggers Alley, will share them later - there may be a piccie :)

Offline Muggins

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Footbridge £10 million that'll never happen if they can't find the money for the CCTV, which must be a relatively cheap, if not solution, then a great help. 

There is a bend in the underpass part and the 'roof' is low so it is difficult to see out and in all the way. It has been opened out in the recent past so it's not as tunnel like as it once was (in my teens).


Can't  wait for the discussion on the Thamesdown Drive extension on TS - I attended the public meeting last evening and I was told the West Swindon Forum was about it too.  I expect Richard will start a thread on it.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Footbridge £10 million that'll never happen if they can't find the money for the CCTV, which must be a relatively cheap, if not solution, then a great help. 

There is a bend in the underpass part and the 'roof' is low so it is difficult to see out and in all the way. It has been opened out in the recent past so it's not as tunnel like as it once was (in my teens).



I think a £10,000,000 footbridge would be an incredible waste of money unless it were part of, funded and built by, whoever builds the incredible monorail leisure complex which I don't think is going to materialise any time soon.

On the other hand, the section of Swindon's Western Flyer cycle route upon which various muggings, assaults, an attempted murder, a successful murder and a rape have occurred recently could be simply filled in and the tunnel blocked off. (blocked off bit in red), new bits in yellow - alternatives in yellow dots.

Here's an alternative though:

A 'stub' section can remain between the Iffley Road linear park and  Hawksworth way and entirely new foot & cycleway added to the end of the existing one in the Iffley Road linear park, and continuing alongside Great Western Way to the petrol station.

At the petrol station the route could cross GWW using the existing crossing, crossing Polaris Way and then down Corporation Street




This 'new' route requires about 500 metres of new tarmac and is about 700 metres in length - pretty much the same length as the entire Iffley Road to Station road section of the Western flyer it would replace.

The new route uses existing crossings with the sole exception of the North Star Avenue crossing, although there are a couple of options here:  The first would be to re-use the crossings removed from Regents Circus (SBC still have these, right? - it would be embarrassing if £100,000 worth of crossing equipment had just vanished, wouldn't it?)  or secondly, the existing GWW crossing at the North Star roundabout could be used, and then the new cycle & footway runs on the South Side of the GWW to the Cockleberry roundabout.

I don't fancy the second option because, in the hours of darkness I think it preferable for walkers and cyclists to be within easy earshot and eyesight ofthe properties on teh North Side of the GWW.

It shouldn't need pointing out that rapes, muggings and murders are less likely to happen alongside a busy road or outside occupied properties than they are in and on the Western Flyer section known as Muggers Alley. Oh, yeah....it wouldn't cost anything like £10,000,000 (unless SBC leadership invites a well known local 'entrepeneur' to help himself)

If, at some future point, a developer wants to erect an attractive footbridge over the railway to improve access from the town centre to their commercial venture, they can damn well fund it themselves :)

Offline Midlander

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In a few months time I will have to use this section of the Western Flyer myself, as I will need to cycle to and from the railway station. Cycling to the station won't be too bad, as I can head to the Outlet Village, walk through the other tunnel, then cycle down Station Road. However the return journey is going to be difficult. For a start Station Road is one way, and there are no cyclepaths alongside it so I'd have to walk with my bike along the pavement. As I'll be returning late, the manned tunnel will be closed, so Mugger's Alley will be the only way back, other than walking all the way to the Rodbourne bridge.
Problem is our cyclepath system isn't very helpful to people living in West Swindon is it? Not only that, Thamesdown Transport no longer run buses from West Swindon to the railway station.
I guess I'll just have to find another way home, perhaps Fleming Way, then take the old canal route down to Wootton Bassett Road.
As for the Thamesdown Drive Extension Geoff, building houses and industrial units alongside it is one of the reasons why I'm very much against having it built. Building these will destroy what's left of the nature reserve after Thames Water have already devastated a large section of it! Plus of course anything built there will suffer from heavy flooding, especially at this time of the year.

Offline Geoff Reid

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In a few months time I will have to use this section of the Western Flyer myself, as I will need to cycle to and from the railway station. Cycling to the station won't be too bad, as I can head to the Outlet Village, walk through the other tunnel, then cycle down Station Road. However the return journey is going to be difficult. For a start Station Road is one way, and there are no cyclepaths alongside it so I'd have to walk with my bike along the pavement. As I'll be returning late, the manned tunnel will be closed, so Mugger's Alley will be the only way back, other than walking all the way to the Rodbourne bridge.
Problem is our cyclepath system isn't very helpful to people living in West Swindon is it? Not only that, Thamesdown Transport no longer run buses from West Swindon to the railway station.
I guess I'll just have to find another way home, perhaps Fleming Way, then take the old canal route down to Wootton Bassett Road.

Central Swindon is severely deficient in the number and quality of available cycle paths which allow cyclists to not just arrive at the edge of the town centre, but actually enable cyclist to cross the town centre West to East, East To West, North to South and South to North.  Cycling from the station to Wootton Bassett Road, from Wootton Bassett Road to Drove Road and the Station to Regents Circus are just three examples of central areas in which I would describe cycle infrastructure as 'significantly absent'

Cycling through the Town centre is forbidden, so avoiding the 'absent infrastructure' via the town centre is best done out-of-hours because on-the-spot fines are now commonplace between the Town Centre Woodentops first BLT and last cup of Rosy. :)

As you'll already know even getting from the Station to the town end of the Western Flyer means either:

1. Pushing your bike for 234 metres along a narrow (no cycling) footway alongside Station Road.

2. Riding 506 metres on busy one-way streets: Station - Wellington Street - Milford Stree - Holbrook Way - Bridge Street - Western Flyer

My imaginary new route would be a better option when leaving the station, getting to it requires some more thought :)

If you don't fancy Muggers Alley in the dark (I won't ride it at all after dark unless I'm in company) you either:

1. Station - Wellington Street - Milford Stree - Holbrook Way - Farnsby Street and exit Farnsby Street onto the end of the canal line and then join the (parallel to W.Bassett Rod)cycle paths back to West Swindon.

2. Station - Wellington Street - Milford Stree - Holbrook Way - Emlyn Street - Exeter Street - Church Place - Rodbourne Road and then through the Outlook Centre busgate into the cycle network.

I'd be interested to know how much public money has been given to Swindon Travel Choices given that very little thought or cash seems to have been invested in actually making our cycle network as comprehensive as it should be, and needs to be if a sustainable 21st century transport system for the Borough is anything more than a handy political leaflet filler.   

« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 01:25:40 PM by Geoff Reid »

Offline Muggins

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"As for the Thamesdown Drive Extension Geoff, building houses and industrial units alongside it is one of the reasons why I'm very much against having it built. Building these will destroy what's left of the nature reserve after Thames Water have already devastated a large section of it! Plus of course anything built there will suffer from heavy flooding, especially at this time of the year."

From the meeting last evening the space you talk about WILL be built on anyway. And people from West Swindon there, last evening say its grid lock now.

The Nature Reserve was the property of Thames Water and pushed and conserved by the actions of one very active and passionate about it, young man, I can't see him involved, or with  the investment in it that they would deliberately destroy it. 

As to The old canal, a footbridge is out as far as I'm concerned - someone over on facebook was advocating the same for the Bruce Street bridge junction so us pedestrians/cyclist etc. wouldn't be holding up those people in their nice comfy cars.  The slopes/steps would make it harder work for everyone and damned impossible for the scooter and anyone pushing a wheelchair. Luckily the council,l however bad it is, HAS to consider all abilities. Shared space apart - aye?

What ever has gone wrong with the manic banana?  :nana:
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Mart

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Bloody lunacy.

You have an area that attracts shitheads, do you deal with the shitheads, who, let's face it, are content to be shitheads in just about any location, or, do you spend £10m providing an alternative venue for the shitheads?

Spend £5m on shithead eradication and the benefits will not be confined solely to this area.

We can have a nice bit of street art for the other £5m.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Geoff Reid

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What ever has gone wrong with the manic banana?  :nana:

Hahahahahaaa :)

It would appear that, whilst putting the Santa smiles away for the next 10 months and bringing out the usual ones, I inadvertently included another version of the dancing nana. :banana: