‘Alley-gates’ Anti-Crime Vote Due

Welsh Assembly Members are to vote on legislation which could make it simpler for councils to tackle anti-social behaviour by installing gates to block alleys. “Alley-gating” is the policy of putting locked gates at each end of alleyways running behind homes.

It aims to make it more difficult for burglars, and stops the alleys being used by fly-tippers or drug addicts. An assembly government spokesman said pilot schemes were underway and there had been consultation on the proposals. On Tuesday, assembly members will vote on new regulations which will allow councils the discretion to gate certain lanes or paths in order to prevent crime.

Alley-gating has become more popular with police forces and local councils throughout the UK. “The provisions will allow local authorities to work with the police and local communities to tackle any areas of anti-social behaviour,” the assembly government statement said.

“Lanes or paths could be gated at certain times of day only, and gating orders should be reviewed regularly. It will be important for other approaches to tackle issues of local crime and anti-social behaviour to be considered as well. Gating will not always be the most appropriate option.”

In 2005 the Vale of Glamorgan Council invested £300,000 on a gating scheme. The alleys around 2,000 homes in Barry’s Castleland area were blocked off. The keys to those gates were only given to the people who live in the houses backing on to the alley.

Since the installation South Wales Police said there had been a 58% reduction of house burglaries, a 42% reduction in car thefts and a 75% reduction in robberies. It also won a community award at the annual Association of Public Service Excellence awards. However, concerns have also been raised that blocking off alleys simply moves crime into other areas.

Trevor Jones, a criminologist at the University of Wales, Cardiff, has said that it could reduce burglary in one area but lead to incidents rising by same amount in unprotected areas.

Money to pay for the gates in the Vale came from the Welsh Assembly Government, the European Union and the private sector.

In 2005, the Home Office announced five projects in Wales would received funding from a pot of £1.2m to improve areas blighted by anti-social behaviour.
These included Acrefair in Wrexham, Merthyr Tydfil, Hengoed, Blackwood and Nantyglo in Blaenau Gwent.