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Efficiency of local police needs improvement, says Inspectorate ​

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THE EXTENT to which the Dyfed-Powys Police is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime requires improvement. That is the assessment of Wendy Williams of her Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary in her latest report

It’s the fourth such assessment – called a PEEL report (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) of the force by the Inspectorate so far.

PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas.

The review body said that Dyfed-Powys Police needs to improve the overall efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime, although there are some aspects of the force’s work that are managed well, such as its understanding of demand.

The report added: “The force has well-established processes and systems that allow it to monitor and understand current demand, including demand that might go unreported. It uses this understanding to move resources to where they are needed most.

“The force’s leaders are also good at promoting innovative thinking to reduce demand, and use continuous improvement techniques to good effect, identifying wasteful and inefficient practices.”

BD0TGH Three Traffic officers inspect a RTA while stood in front of a fire engine

IMPROVE USE OF RESOURCES

Dyfed-Powys Police needs to improve the way it uses its resources, the Inspectorate said.

“The force has not undertaken a skills audit to understand the capacity and capability of all of its people. Such an audit would help the force inform its recruitment, selection and promotion processes in order to identify the best people for the job and to develop people in their roles.

“The force also needs to improve the way it plans for the future. For example, the force needs to make better use of national recruitment and development schemes, external recruitment, and other recruitment opportunities to ensure it is able to recruit, promote and develop people with the skills it needs.”

VISION FOR THE FUTURE

“The force also needs to develop an integrated vision of the future that takes into account public expectation, changing technology, interoperability with other emergency services and the reduced resources available to its partners. On a more positive note, the force has made good progress in developing a more strategic approach to partnership working. It has also invested well in ICT, which has resulted in significant savings and a reduction in demand across a number of areas.”

REACTION FROM THE DEPUTY CHIEF

Responding to the assessment, Deputy Chief Constable Darren Davies told The Herald: “I welcome the latest efficiency report from HMICFRS and whilst we are one of 10 forces graded as ‘Requires Improvement’ overall, and therefore still have much work to do, there are clear indications within the report that the force is making positive progress.

“At the time of this inspection, a new Chief Officer team had been in place for only a few months, and together with all staff, we have worked tirelessly to improve performance.

“In previous years Dyfed-Powys has been assessed as Requires Improvement in all three areas making up the efficiency report – this year for the first time, we have been assessed as ‘Good’ at understanding demand, but still ‘requiring improvement’ in both use of resources and planning for the future sections. Clearly to use resources and plan for the future, understanding the demand we face is an essential requirement and, we have progressed to ‘Good’ in that regard. This is a small but important step in continuing to improve as a force.

“In the report HMICFRS has identified 5 areas for improvement and we have already begun addressing these and will continue to work hard to rectify these whilst maintaining the positive direction of travel.

“We look forward to receiving the further reports from HMICFRS in the coming weeks on both Legitimacy and Effectiveness, when we are confident there will be further tangible evidence of the progress we are making in an effort to deliver the high quality policing that our communities deserve.

“I am personally leading this work, and have seen first-hand the energy, commitment and drive the whole force is demonstrating in seeking to continually improve what we do at every level.”

CRIME COMMISSIONER’S COMMENTS

Local Police & Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn said: “It is evident upon reading the report that improvements are being made to the way in which Dyfed-Powys Police are utilising their resources. This is testimony to the hard work and commitment of Officers and Staff and the leadership of Chief Constable Collins and his team.

“Whilst there is still a lot of work to do, I am confident that future reports will demonstrate continued improvement which ultimately will result in the delivery of an enhanced service to the public within the Dyfed-Powys area.”

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The Pembrokeshire man on the Titanic

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ON the morning of April 15 1912, in the North Atlantic some 450-miles south of Newfoundland, the RMS Titanic slowly slid beneath the sea just two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg.

Stories from that night are famous, from the lookouts misplacing their binoculars to the ship’s band playing even as the sea washed over their feet, the sinking of the Titanic holds a special place in the public consciousness and continues to grab our attention some 109 years after the ‘unsinkable’ ship sank.

Over 1500 people lost their lives in the biggest maritime naval disaster at that point.

Among the dead were American and British millionaires, White Star Line employees and countless anonymous immigrants from across Europe who were all seeking a better life in America.

908 crew were on board the Titanic when it left Southampton on its fateful maiden voyage, one of the crew was a man called Charles Essex Edwards, 38, who sometimes gave himself the first name of ‘Clement’.

Charles was born in 1862 to John and Harriet Edwards of St. Martin’s Place, Haverfordwest.

He worked as a carpenter as a 19-year-old man and would end up moving out of Pembrokeshire and going to sea.  By the time he married a lady called Lavinia Ann Poulter, from Llanstadwell, in May 1892 he was living in Newport.

Lavinia, a Pembrokeshire woman herself, was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Poulter who lived on Lawrenny Terrace in Neyland.

By 1895, Lavinia had returned to Pembrokeshire following the death of her mother. Charles and Lavinia’s marriage suffered but Charles would continue visiting Lavinia and stayed at his father-in-law’s house when he was on shore leave.

Although still married in the eyes of the law, Charles and Lavinia were basically separated by 1901.

Charles signed on to work on the brand new RMS Titanic after it had completed its sea trials in Belfast Lough, he gave his address as 7 Brunswick Square, Southampton. He worked on the Titanic as an assistant pantry-man steward who earned a monthly wage of £3 15s on his previous ship the SS Zeeland.

SS Zeeland: The ship Charles worked on before the Titanic

When RMS Titanic left Southampton a massive crowd had gathered to see the newest addition to the White Star Line fleet depart. Charles Edwards was there. He was there when the ship picked up more passengers at Cherbourg and Cobh.

He would’ve been working during the day, his job entailed keeping the ship’s pantries stocked with food and wine, a vital job on a ship with such a high-class passenger list as the Titanic.

He was, more than likely, sleeping when Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg in the ship’s path at 11:40pm on Sunday, April 14. He would’ve been woken by the noise of metal on ice and the ship shuddering as it was torn open on the starboard side.

As the ‘unsinkable’ ship took on water Charles, as a White Star Line employee, would’ve been given the unenviable task of waking up passengers, informing them of what happened and getting them to put on their lifejackets.

Once the scale of the situation on the Titanic became apparent, the command structure effectively disintegrated.

Captain Edward Smith would’ve cut a forlorn figure as he wandered around near the wheelhouse and his last words to his crew, according to reports at the time were:

“Well boys, you’ve done your duty and done it well. I ask no more of you. I release you.

“You know the rule of the sea. It’s every man for himself now, and God bless you.”

This would’ve been around 2:10am, at that point Charles would’ve faced a literal up-hill battle with male members of the crew only having a 24% chance of survival and many people gathering ‘like bees’ on the stern of the stricken liner which, experts say, raised to a 12 degree angle.

The Pantryman-stewards from the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic

Many male crew members elected to stay at their posts as, according to Victorian culture it was better for men to die than to live and be perceived a coward, so the lights of the ship remained on until about 2:18am, just two minutes before Titanic broke apart and began its journey to its final resting place some 12,000ft below on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

But now you know there was a man named Charles Edwards who was born in Haverfordwest and who died when the Titanic sank in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. His body, if it was recovered, was never identified and we don’t even have a picture of him.

When news of the disaster broke, The Pembroke County Guardian described the tragedy as ‘one of the most appalling calamities in the long history of shipwreck’.

Four men from Maenclochog, it was later revealed, had a lucky escape as their plans to emigrate that April on the Titanic were thwarted by one of their number being unable to travel, so the group decided to wait for their friend. That decision saved their lives.

Pembrokeshire responded to the sinking by raising money for the Titanic Relief Fund, Pembroke Dock raised £12 2s 0d through a collection at the Royal Dockyard and, in Haverfordwest, Sidney White, who would later go on to own The Palace Cinema, hosted benefit performances to packed houses which raised £5 15s.

Lavinia, after a legal battle with Charles’ brother William, was given £192 in compensation for Charles’ death and went on to look after her father at Railway Terrace, Neyland until he passed away.

Lavinia went on to move to Middlesex where she lived until 1934. She left her estate to her chauffeur.

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Marloes pensioner in child abuse images case

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A PENSIONER has been bailed to attend Swansea Crown Court by magistrates sitting in Haverfordwest Law Courts this week.

Derek Lister, 72, of Marloes is accused of making indecent photographs of children.

He appeared before the bench, on Tuesday (Apr 13).

Lister was represented by Redkite Solicitors.

The court heard that between June 2009 and November 2019 in Marloes, Pembrokeshire, Lister allegedly created 3 indecent category A images of a child, 14 indecent category B images of a child and 152 indecent category C images of a child.

He will now appear at Swansea Crown Court on May 11 at 10am for the next hearing after the local court declined jurisdiction.

Lister has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Derek Lister: Accused of making child abuse images
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Primary school teacher described as ‘touchy-feely’ on day two of trial

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher, accused of sexually assaulting his pupils was “very touchy-feely”, Swansea Crown Court heard on the second day of his trial.

James Oulton, 34, of Haverfordwest would put his hands around students’ waists and touch their bottoms, an ex-female pupil said in a video interview played to Swansea Crown Court.

The defendant denies 30 charges of sexual assault at a primary school in Haverfordwest. The alleged offences took place between 2012 and 2018.

On the opening day of the trial, court heard that Oulton said the case was a “witch-hunt” and that he always behaved appropriately with children.

On Tuesday, the jury watched the video interview with one of Oulton’s former pupils, who said he was a “friendly person, very chatty and sociable and quite outgoing and wanted to know everything that was going on.”

She added: “Mr Oulton often wanted to know a lot of details on what we had done over the weekend, where we had been, and also who they had been with.”

“At the time I just thought he was trying to be really friendly but now when I look back at it now, it does seem odd.”

The witness also described the defendant as a “very touchy-feely teacher”.

She added: “If he was marking your work or if you approached him to ask him a question, he would put his hands around your waist or around your bum”.

“If he was standing by his desk, he would, like, motion to his knee, so he wouldn’t ask you directly to sit on his lap but he would tap his knee.”

Swansea Crown Court heard that the witness eventually came forward and told her parents parents after she heard them speaking about Mr Oulton being suspended from his job.

“Did you feel under pressure to say something had happened to you?” asked Mr Clee.

The witness answered “No”

Oulton, of Richmond Crescent, Haverfordwest, previously told the court he had behaved appropriately.

He also believed letters were sent by Pembrokeshire County Council to parents which encouraged “deliberately false evidence” and collusion between pupils.

The trial continues.

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