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Police recruiting cadets in south of the county



SPENDING a week at a junior police academy in America, attending the royal wedding, and making lifelong friends – these are just some of the opportunities Volunteer Police Cadets at Dyfed-Powys Police have experienced.

For the past two years, teenagers in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, and Newtown, Powys, have been part of the cadets scheme, which gives them an insight into policing and offers unique experiences.

There is now a chance for teenagers to put their names forward to join the cadets as Dyfed-Powys Police relaunches a branch of the scheme in South Pembrokeshire. Leaders are calling out for the next group of Volunteer Police Cadets (VPCs), who will start in September, and current cadets are encouraging school pupils to apply.

Volunteer Police Cadet Cheyenne Kirby, who has just returned from a week-long exchange visit to Maryland in America, said: “Personally, I think it’s the most amazing experience ever, and I would definitely recommend joining.

“It is a great opportunity to gain more skills, such as teamwork and communication, as well as learning about the police. I’ve really enjoyed being with the cadets, and since being with them I’ve wanted to join the police in the future.”

Cadets meet regularly and have the opportunity to get involved with voluntary and community work in and around Newtown. They learn vital skills including first aid, communication, problem-solving and leadership, which they develop through ongoing training with the force.

Previous intakes of cadets have represented the police at Remembrance Day parades, helped some of the most vulnerable in the community during Christmas campaigns and have had the chance to learn about various sections of the police force.

Four cadets from Newtown were selected to take part in Dyfed-Powys Police’s first exchange visit to the US, when they were put through their paces at the South Maryland Junior Police Academy – an experience they would never have had if not for the cadet scheme.

VPC Tomos Chick said: “I’m glad I took the opportunity – the idea to come to America for the academy both scared and exited me initially. I didn’t know what to expect, and the culture shock was gruelling. But this programme was a life-altering decision, and I cannot repeat that enough.”

Pembrokeshire cadet Will Lloyd and Ammanford cadet Ffion Jenkins were chosen as Lord Lieutenant cadets this year, and have had the chance to rub shoulders with royalty at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

VPC Ffion said: “I expected to be standing with everyone on the streets by the castle, but I was shocked to find out that I have been invited to the grounds of Windsor Castle.

“I was proud, excited and very honoured to be invited to his historic event.”

South Pembrokeshire cadet leader Andrew Griffiths said: “Joining the police cadets is an excellent opportunity to get to know the police service, engage with the community you live in, and take part in events and experiences that you might not otherwise have the chance to.

“The skills cadets learn range from team building and communication, to confidence and self-awareness, which will set them up for any career they choose to pursue.”

The group is looking to recruit cadets who are currently in school years 8 and 9 at Greenhill, Tenby and Pembroke comprehensive schools. Anyone interested in applying can pick up an application form from PCSO Andrew Griffiths at Tenby police station, or at the schools’ receptions.

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Tenby pedestrianisation starts Monday



THE TENBY pedestrianisation scheme starts on Monday, July 1. The scheme – which operates within the town walls – will operate until Friday, September 13 between the hours of 11am and 5.30pm. The scheme will be suspended for the Long Course Weekend on July 6/7.

This permanent time-frame has been chosen following a questionnaire and consultation exercise Pembrokeshire County Council carried out after last year’s scheme which trialled the new dates.

The town pedestrianisation scheme is a popular one with visitors as it allows a vibrant ‘cafe culture’ feel to be embraced in the town with many of the pubs and restaurants within the exclusion zone opting an alfresco-style seating and dining experience, and on sunny summer days, it allows guests and visitors to sit outside and enjoy lunch or drinks in the sunshine.

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Substitution in psychoactive substances a growing concern for experts



THERE is evidence of a growing market in the manufacture and distribution of new benzodiazepine susbstances, with 71% of samples of what users think is diazepam testing positive for other chemicals.

Street valium is bought and sold on the streets of Wales for as little as 50p per tablet.

Josie Smith, Head of Substance Misuse for Public Health Wales and Programme Lead for WEDINOS said: “Although there are always concerns and potential for adverse effects from the consumption of psychoactive substances, the risk is increased by the rising prevalence of substance substitution within the unregulated illicit benzodiazepine market.

“As substitute substances have varying therapeutic doses and duration of effects, there is a concern in relation to the increased potential for an individual to experience adverse and acute effects; including accidental overdose, hospitalisation and death.”

Public Health Wales’s WEDINOS service has seen an increase in the number of samples submitted for testing in the last year, with the substitution of substances within drug groups a key emerging trend.

The WEDINOS Annual Report for 2018-19 also identifies a substantial increase in non-prescribed ‘prescription’ medications being submitted to its drug testing facility.

As in 2017/18, benzodiazepines were the most commonly identified class of psychoactive substances.

Benzodiazepines such as Diazepam, Etizolam and Alprazolam (Xanax) are common sedative drugs often prescribed for anxiety and insomnia.

In addition to prescribed medical use, benzodiazepines are used recreationally and there is evidence of a growing market in the manufacture and distribution of new benzodiazepine substances.

This year, WEDINOS found a higher frequency of substitution amongst samples submitted as benzodiazepines, in particular, diazepam; with nearly three quarters of all samples submitted as diazepam in the first quarter of 2019 were found to contain other substances.

For the first time this year, WEDINOS tested samples of benzodiazepines submitted in blister pack form that contained a substance different to that named on the pack.

Josie Smith continues: “The evidence of substitution indicates that even if a person has purchased tablets looking like a medication, they may not contain the stated contents. This represents a public health challenge and a need for greater awareness and pragmatic harm reduction advice and education.”

The report shows a 58 per cent increase in the number of samples submitted to WEDINOS for testing in 2018-19 compared to the previous year. In total, 2,145 samples were tested between April 2018 and March 2019.

Public Health Wales produces reports and information to influence national and international policy to ensure it is based on the best evidence to protect and improve health.

Those seeking to receive support for drug or alcohol related concerns can contact the Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline on freephone 0808 808 2234, by texting DAN to: 81066 or by visiting

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£700,000 flood scheme that protects people in 41 Pembrokeshire homes completed



Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has completed a £700,000 improvement to a flood scheme that protects people in 41 properties in west Wales.

The flood storage area at Pont y Cerbyd, Pembrokeshire holds back flood waters which threaten the nearby villages of Middle Mill and Solva.

The improvements include a new 50 metre-long spillway, a new overflow structure which controls the amount of water the reservoir can hold, reinforcement to the embankment to protect against erosion, and additional drainage.

Originally built in 1990 the work on the storage area was needed after several major floods eroded part of the old spillway, making it less effective.

Now the work is complete the structure can maintain the original level of flood protection to people in the downstream villages.

To further protect and warn the local communities, NRW has installed new equipment to monitor river levels as well as a small wind turbine to power a CCTV camera that can be used to view the reservoir’s water levels in real time.

As part of the scheme, NRW also organised exercises to practice using emergency pumping equipment to manage water levels in the reservoir should the need arise.

Andy Irving, team leader flood incident management for NRW, said:

“Protecting Wales’ communities is a vital part of our work which is why we monitor river levels all over the country 24/7 and invest millions of pounds into projects to reduce people’s flood risk.

“The Pont y Cerbyd flood storage area helps manage the flood risk to 41 properties downstream of the Solva river where levels can increase quickly in harsh weather.

“Investing in improvement projects adds another level of protection for at-risk homes and businesses.

“Combining this with our training exercises means we can continue to react to incidents quickly and efficiently.”

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