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District Enforcement deny using tactics and incentives for penalties

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A REPRESENTATIVE from the District Enforcement team has denied that their officers have been using tactics against members of the public when issuing Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs).

At a meeting of the Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday (Nov 22), members asked numerous questions about the issuing of notices and asked for assurances that children under the age of 18 weren’t being targeted.

District Enforcement Representative John Dunne denied that officers were using tactics describing them as ‘pro-active’ and said that they were not being offered incentives to issue notices.

A report to the council states that from September 10 until November 9, 945 fixed penalty tickets were issued, a high percentage of which (99.58%) were for littering.

Many of those involved cigarette butts while there have also been a few notices issues for general littering and dog fouling.

The Council have said that 323 tickets remain unpaid after ten days as of November 1 and that ten cases were ready to proceed court.

District Enforcement officers have been on patrol in Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock, Goodwick and Narberth – amongst others.

The Council’s Head of Environment, Richard Brown said that although the majority of notices issued related to fag butts this was not their intention when it was first started.

He went on to speak about comments on social media which described the behaviour of some officers but said: “We don’t get complaints from people who don’t commit an offence.

“A lot of things on social media may not be entirely truthful and any enforcement activity will lead to a lash-back by members of the public and there are little direct complaints to us.”

John Dunne told members he had seen the impact that enforcement has had in other areas but added that it needed to be aligned with education.

Cllr Rob Summons led the questions asking if officers were targeting areas that produced the greatest number of penalty notices.

John Dunne said that officers patrolled the whole of the county and that their strategy would be determined by complaints from members of the public.

Asked about using tactics, John said: “I deny that, we are pro-active rather than reactive. We wouldn’t be serving the people, if we had that intelligence, if we didn’t catch that person.”

Cllr Summons asked if officers were given incentives but John added: “All officers are salaried, paid an hourly rate and they are not incentivised whatsoever. We are completely transparent on this and the local authority can log on to our system and check payslips.”

He also went on to say that children under 18 could not be issued with a notice but if someone was wrongly given a notice, all they would need to do was send identification through an email and the penalty would be cancelled.

Cllr Brian Hall said that the process was ‘well overdue’ and added: “If we’re going to do things we’ve got to get it right.”

He gave an example of someone who had been given a notice in a Tesco car park but had the notice cancelled as it was deemed not in the public interest.

Cllr Tim Evans also raised an issue where a homeless person had been given an FPN but John Dunne said that on reviewing the 16-minute interaction between the officer and the man, he did not say he was homeless but went on to say this was also cancelled.

Other members also talked about education being needed while Cllr Simon Hancock sought assurances that no child under the age of 10 would be issued with a penalty notice.

John Dunne gave that assurance and went on to say that there was a minimum of two officers patrolling a certain area of the county and that they would cover the whole county in a week.

He added that officer work from 7am to 7pm but added if they had intelligence of litter being dropped at later times they could go out at those times to catch people.

Cllr Summons concluded by encouraging members of the public to report any littering concerns to their local councillor for the information to be passed on.

He also requested that the committee receive an update in April about the service.

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Pembrokeshire residents can quickly check symptoms for variety of conditions on NHS 111 Wales online

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NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker can save Pembrokeshire patients time by helping them find the right NHS service for treatment. Symptoms can be quickly checked for a variety of conditions and advice given on the best way to treat them by visiting www.111.wales.nhs.uk which is hosted by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The way we access NHS services has changed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more options now becoming increasingly utilised, including the NHS 111 Wales online service which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be used for both health information and advice and to access urgent primary care in Welsh and English.

In a recent YouGov survey, a third of Pembrokeshire residents had not even heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker and only 19% had used it during the past 12 months.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are asking everyone to help us by reconsidering the way you access NHS services. The methods available have changed but we are still here for you. It is worth getting to know the different ways you can access the NHS so you can be seen and treated quicker with your first port of call being NHS 111 Wales.”

According to the YouGov survey, carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign, only 67% of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker. However, 86% said they felt it was important to have access to the service.   

NHS 111 Wales online can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. The way it works is: You answer questions about your symptoms on the website and depending on the situation you will:

  •           Get self-care advice
  •           Be told how to get any medicine you need
  •           Find out what local service can help you
  •           Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  •           Get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  •           Be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E

For those who don’t have confidence going online to seek advice, there is the NHS 111 Wales phone service. This is also a free service where patients can contact the NHS by dialling 111 to receive advice on the best way to manage their issue or gain further assistance if needed. The bilingual telephone service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Eighty-four percent of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales phone service when asked for the recent YouGov survey but only 20% had used the telephone service during the last 12 months.

 

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Trial date for son accused of killing mum

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THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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