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Police officers to have spit and bite guards from today

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FROM today (May 18) front-line police officers across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys will be equipped with spit and bite guards.

Spit and bite guards, made from a loose-fitting, lightweight mesh fabric, are placed over a person’s head to help minimise the risks of diseases and injuries associated with spitting and biting.

This means if someone spits or bites, or threatens to spit or bite, officers have a new piece of equipment to protect themselves and others.

Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: “Both spitting and biting are a particularly unpleasant form of assault and should not be considered by anyone to be an acceptable part of the job. Figures show there were 77 spit and bite incidents against Dyfed-Powys Police officers and staff in 2017 alone – more than six per month, on average.

“Assaults by spitting and biting can have long-term and distressing implications for officers, who sometimes have to take medication for many weeks afterwards to prevent infection.

“Use of force tactics, such as spit and bite guards, are there to protect not only the public but also for the safety of our officers, who face dangerous situations every day.

“It is imperative that we employ proportionate and appropriate tactics in each situation we face in order to achieve our number one objective, protecting the public.

“Our officers go through rigorous and continued training on tactics which are considered by the Home Office as a use of force. Officers are highly trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when necessary.

“The Chief Officer team has listened to concerns raised by officers as well as taking on board recent recommendations from the National Police Chief’s Council and have taken the decision that spit guards will be rolled out to all front line officers across the force, in line with 25 other police forces nationally.”

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, said: “Dyfed-Powys Police officers do their utmost to deliver invaluable services to the public, day in day out, no matter the circumstances. It is not right that they are subject to abuse whilst performing their duties, and it is our duty to protect those who strive to keep us safe and free from harm.

“In March 2018 I wrote to Members of Parliament to encourage them to support the passage on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill through the House of Commons. It is an important initiative which seeks to underline the importance of protecting emergency workers from assaults such as spitting and biting, and is a significant step in highlighting our mutual stance on this matter. It is of utmost importance that we take action to protect our police officers.”

College of Policing said: “Spit guards are for the protection of the arresting officer, other emergency service personnel and the public.

“It is recognised that the need to use spit guards or handcuffs during the restraint of an individual may cause distress to them and those who witness the arrest.

“However, as well as serving as protective equipment for the officer, it is also recognised that, by eliminating the risk of being spat on, bitten or the transmission of communicable diseases, the need for physical restraint may be reduced.

“As such, the risk of serious physical injury to the individual being arrested, is also reduced.

“The College has recently led a national review of the Personal Safety Training given to officers, which includes a section on spit guards and the medical implications of their use.

“As with all use of force, it will be for the arresting officer to justify their actions in each individual circumstance. The availability and use of equipment such as spit guards remain a local decision for each chief constable.”

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Man ‘lucky to be alive’ after lorry crash

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THE CHAIR of the Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire Liberal Democrats says that he is lucky to be alive after a freak car accident in Burton last week.

Andrew Lye was driving towards the Cleddau Bridge when his car was hit by lorry’s stabiliser which had come loose and was protruding into the road.

The collision, which happened at 2.45pm on Friday (Dec 7), left Mr Lye’s car written off, and he was badly shaken.

Mr Lye was thankfully not injured.

The police are investigating the crash between his Kia Picanto and a DAF LF lorry.

Mr Lye, who is the former Council Leader in the West Wiltshire District Council, told The Herald: “I consider myself to be lucky to get out of the car in one piece.

“I didn’t see the stabiliser bar as the lorry came towards me and the first I knew of the collision was the sound of my car being torn apart and glass and plastic flying over me.

“I am glad that I wear glasses as this protected my eyes.”

The police have been contacted for a comment.

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Pembroke: School to be closed tomorrow due to ‘major leak’

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Closed: Due to a 'major leak' (pic. Martin Cavaney)

A ‘MAJOR LEAK’ has closed Ysgol Harri Tudor / Henry Tudor School in Pembroke this morning (Dec 13).

The electrical system has been affected by the leak and the classrooms are not usable.

The council have said that the school will remain closed on Friday (Dec 14) as well.

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “Ysgol Harri Tudor / Henry Tudor School in Pembroke is closing this morning (Thursday, 13th December) at 10.30 am because of a major leak in one of the buildings. This affected the electrical system and rendered classrooms unusable.

“All staff and pupils are safe and transport arrangements are in place.

“Please monitor Pembrokeshire County Council’s social media pages for information as to whether the school will be open tomorrow (Friday, 14th December). A decision will be taken later today.”

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Santa dog parade raises money for Greenacres

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FRIARS VAULTS in Haverfordwest hosted a Santa dog parade to raise money for Greenacres Animal Rescue on the weekend.

The event, which took place on Sunday (Dec 9), included a catwalk for dogs, hunt for treats and a raffle.

The total amount raised on the night was £110 with a further £45.50 collected through the donation box.

The winner of the best-dressed Dog was Deb and Steve Bunston with Pip, in second place was Danielle Boswell with Badger and in third place was Caitlin Davies with Denzal.

Greenacres Animal Rescue said on their Facebook page: “A huge thank you to all at Friars vaults Haverfordwest & Jamie Sid Williams for holding the fabulous fancy dress pooch party yesterday.

“A very welcome £158.50 was raised for Greenacres. Thank you all”

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