The police presence in Pembroke is “woefully inadequate,” at a time when antisocial behaviour and drug-taking is “on the rise” in the town, Pembrokeshire councillors have heard.

The concerns at the level of policing in the town were raised by local county councillor, and town councillor, Jonathan Grimes at the February meeting of Pembrokeshire County council’s licensing sub-committee during an application for an American-style diner in The Commons area of the town.

Concerns had been raised by residents and the town council over issues including the potential sale of alcohol as late as 2 am, as well as fears of crime and anti-social behaviour, and drug problems.

The application for a premises licence for café/restaurant Parkside Diner, on Commons Road, made by Pembroke Diners Ltd, would be on the site formerly occupied by Stateside Diner, and more recently Charlie Brown’s Bistro.

While the majority of food and drink sales would be inside the property, there was an initial proposal to utilise a serving hatch, allowing the sale of late-night refreshments and alcohol off-site as late as 2am at weekends.

The hatch element was not actually included in the application before committee members, leading to a call for a midnight, with a 12.30am finishing-up period, request.

During the meeting, Cllr Grimes raised concerns that late-night drinkers may move down to The Commons area “which in the past had a problem with drugs and antisocial behaviour.”

The diner application site, at The Commons, Pembroke.
The diner application site, at The Commons, Pembroke. (Pic: Google Street View. )

“Pembroke has enough challenges with antisocial behaviour, and this just adds fuel to the flames for the peaceful enjoyment of local residents and tourists,” said Cllr Grimes, who stressed he had “no problems” with the sale of alcohol with food, but raised concerns about the sale of alcohol off-premises in an area that has “a very low” amount of police patrols.

Hearing there had been no objections by statutory consultees like the police, Cllr Grimes said: “To be honest I’m not surprised, the police presence is woefully inadequate, antisocial behaviour is on the rise, drug-taking is on the rise, and the police response is woefully inadequate at the moment; it’s unusual to see police patrols after 10 pm because most of the police patrols are carried out by PCSOs and PCSOs normally finish at 10 pm.”

Cllr Grimes raised memories of a “mass brawl” at the town’s annual fair last year, the police presence at which he has previously described as “underwhelming”.

“We had an incident last October at the Michaelmas Fair where there were no police available to deal with an antisocial incident, a fight,” he continued.

“Policing is woefully inadequate in Pembroke at the moment,” added Cllr Grimes who is the Conservative County Councillor for Pembroke Monkton and St Mary South wards.

Committee members, following a compromise mooted by the applicant himself, agreed to the granting of a premises licence on the condition the sale of refreshments was limited to 11am, with the business able to stay open to 11.30pm.

Dyfed-Powys Police has been contacted for a response to the concerns raised.