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Safety initiative wins £90k funding

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safety initiativeDYFED-POWYS Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon has secured funding of £90,000 for a new service to help vulnerable people.

The money, from the Home Office, will help fund two specially equipped vehicles to be staffed by police officers and with facilities for mental health nurses.

They will help those in mental distress when involved in an incident.Police – often first on the scene at an incident – now occasionally have no choice but to take the person into custody until health treatment can be provided.

It is hoped the Mobile Assessment and Support Team (MAST) units will reduce the need for such action. A partnership between Dyfed- Powys Police, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Powys Teaching Health Board and the Welsh Ambulance Service, the units could be operational by the end of this summer.

Mr Salmon said: “For a number of reasons, police cells are regularly used for those suffering with potentially traumatic episodes.

“MAST is the innovative alternative; it will provide the most appropriate service to people in mental distress at the earliest opportunity– and will save time and money for the police, ambulance and health services.

“I’m delighted that my application for Home Office funding has succeeded. This project will offer new support to individuals at a time when they’re particularly vulnerable and will help Dyfed-Powys Police and others become more effective on the front line.”

Dyfed-Powys Chief Constable Simon Prince said: “MAST will provide the communities of Dyfed-Powys with a mobile and dynamic assessment facility during mental health detentions.

“The vision for the project is to take bold and innovative steps to provide a better service for people suffering with issues relating to their mental health.”

Hywel Dda University Health Board Deputy Chief Executive Karen Howell said:

“We are pleased and excited by the opportunity to work more closely with Dyfed-Powys Police and other partner agencies, to ensure the needs of our population are better met.

“This innovative development will ensure that vulnerable people experiencing a mental health crisis receive timely and appropriate care and treatment more flexibly in their own communities.”

Powys Teaching Health Board Director of Nursing Carol Shillabeer said:

“We and the wider mental health partnership are committed to supporting those with mental health needs. It is important to get them the help they need swiftly.

“We work closely with a number of other public services to ensure the safety of all of our patients and I welcome the addition of the MAST service.”

Dyfed-Powys Police managed 176 such detentions in the 10 months up to February 2013. Only three (2%) resulted in a crime being recorded and, on average, it took eight hours 48 minutes in detention for the individual to be seen by the appropriate mental health team.

The Dyfed-Powys bid to the Home Office’s fledgling Police Innovation Fund was £90,701 for 2013-14. The police force and health partners will collectively contribute a further £60,468 for the year. The 2014-15 running cost for MAST will be £220,675 and met by the local partners.

Dyfed-Powys Police mental health detentions cost the taxpayer around £313,000 every year in policing budget. It is hoped that MAST will decrease such detention figures by 80% and that a £249,200 police saving will be made in 2014-15.

Among the other services provided by the project will be a 24-hour on-call phone advice service, with access to specific advice for under-25s.

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Cleddau Bridge Hotel fire started deliberately

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A RESPONSE to a Freedom of Information Act request made by Llanion councillor Joshua Beynon reveals that the fire which devastated the Cleddau Bridge Hotel on March 30 this year was arson.

The blaze followed a protracted period during which the hotel had been empty following the refusal of a planning application for change of use to residential accommodation.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that investigators have now concluded the fire investigation regarding the fire that took place at the Cleddau Bridge Hotel on March 30, 2019.

“The investigation determined that the fire was started deliberately, and all relevant information has duly been passed on to Dyfed Powys Police.”

The Herald has asked Dyfed Powys Police to comment on the progress of its investigation.

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No prosecutions in Pembroke Dock grant fraud allegations

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MORE than five years since allegations of impropriety in publicly-funded building restoration grants were taken up by the police, the local force tells Pembrokeshire County Council chief executive, Ian Westley, in a letter circulated to councillors: “The Crown Prosecution Service has determined that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any of the suspects.”

More details to follow – the matter will also be discussed at this Thursday’s full council meeting.

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Education

Fishguard school last in Wales without broadband

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CHILDREN in a school in Fishguard are excited about next term before the summer holidays have even begun.

Ysgol Llanychllwydog is the last school in Wales without broadband.

The pupils sometimes have to wait half an hour for pages to load. Sometimes videos won’t play. Now the school is looking forward to an ultra-fast future, and for the head teacher the changes cannot come quickly enough.

Currently when the internet goes down Amanda Lawrence has to drive 10 minutes to her other school to send an email to report it.

“It’s frustrating. There are lots of schools that are able to use schemes where you can plan electronically, but it’s difficult for staff here to do that,” she said.

As part of a scheme to target hard-to-reach places, fibre optic cable is being laid along a 15-mile route from Haverfordwest.

Matt Lovegrove, who works for Openreach, admitted it had been ‘a massive challenge’.

He said: “We’ve had to plough 1.5 miles of new trench to put new duct in, we’ve had to put new poles and had to span the cable between 50 poles as well, so a real variety of challenges.

“The product is limitless in terms of speed. It’s gigabit capable, that means they can download music, interactive learning et cetera, and it will be instant for them.”

The wider community will also benefit from the upgrade, he said. “We are looking to work with local government and residents to expand that fibre footprint to as much of the village as possible.”

“They’ll be able to access the high speed broadband and again get all the benefits from that.”

The last school in Wales without broadband

Broadband is a Welsh Government priority. It’s invested £13.8m in school broadband.

But Llanarchllwydog has been a tough nut. It’s taken the efforts of Welsh and UK governments to bring broadband.

“Because of the challenging topography, that we are familiar with, it has taken rather a long time to make sure that every school is equipped with the broadband speeds that they need,” said Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams.

“This means that schools will have the external infrastructure that they need to deliver our exciting new curriculum and I hope to be making an announcement shortly on further investment on kit and equipment inside schools.”

The work is being done through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) £200m Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme.

DCMS minister Margot James MP agrees cooperation between the two governments has helped deliver the project.

“That’s not the end of it for Wales,” Ms James said.

“The other aspects of the rural gigabit connectivity programme is that we are using that £200 million to bring full fibre to local public buildings like hospitals and schools so that they get the gigabit connectivity first.”

The cable has now reached the telegraph post outside the school. The final work will happen over summer.

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