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TV series reveals the demand police face from missing people

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EVERY year, thousands of people are reported missing to Dyfed-Powys Police, and a new TV series is about to showcase the hard work and determination that goes in to finding them.

From people going missing under tragic circumstances, and those intent on not being found, to children skipping school, and even those who don’t realise they are missing – a range of cases will be featured in S4C series Ar Goll.

Handler at Force Control Centre

The series follows the work of call handlers and incident managers who deal with the initial response to missing people reports, to the policing teams that do all they can to find them and ensure they are safe.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: “The work that goes on to find missing people is a huge demand on the force, and not one that many people are aware of.

A lot of the enquiries our staff and officers undertake go on behind the scenes, and there are a huge number of missing people who are found very quickly without the need for a public appeal for information.

“It is only in five per cent of all cases that we ask for the public’s help in locating someone who has been reported missing, so it is impossible for the public to truly comprehend how much of our resources are tied up looking for missing people.”

In 2018, call handlers in the force control centre took 3,030 calls from people reporting their family members, friends, colleagues and pupils missing. Many were found within minutes, while in other cases searches lasted days, weeks, and even months.

During the six-part series, ITV Wales’s production team was given access to different stages of missing people enquiries, shadowing police search advisor (POLSA) officers, dog handlers, NPAS helicopters, the marine unit and partner organisations including Coastguard, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, and mountain rescue teams.

Police tape at scene

During the first episode, a rare insight is given into the workings of the control room at Dyfed-Powys Police headquarters in Carmarthen, where staff respond to 999 and 101 calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Film crews followed call handlers, dispatchers and incident managers as they directed policing teams to find two missing 10-year-old schoolboys in Llanelli. Last year, 185 young people were reported missing from education premises, and FCC staff admitted tensions were always high when children were missing.

Speaking in the first episode, Force Incident Manager Chief Inspector Dyfed Bolton said: “We have just had a call from a school in the Llanelli area to say that two pupils have jumped over the fence and have disappeared.

“With any call about a missing child, we need to look at their age – we are dealing with something different if it is a 15-year-old or an eight-year-old. Younger children might not realise how busy the roads can be, they might not know who they can trust to speak to, and they don’t always look at the risks when they are playing with no adults around.”

As time goes on, with no sign of the children, resources are drafted in from other areas, and the risk grading to the children is elevated to high. Concern rises for control room staff.

“The risk is that these children could become injured or come to some harm,” Chief Inspector Bolton said. “They could head somewhere to cool down, like a pond, so I’m asking officers to check those areas.

“It is always a tense time when young children are missing.”

From young people to the elderly, the series also follows the search for an 80-year-old woman with dementia who went missing from her home in Carmarthenshire, as well as enquiries lasting more than two weeks to trace a man who disappeared after getting on a bus.

Over six weeks, viewers will be taken through fast-pace searches, high-pressured decision-making, and will witness the frustration, relief and tragedy officers and staff are faced with daily.

Hearing from family members and even the people reported missing themselves, viewers will gain an understanding of the factors that lead people to disappear and the impact this has on their loved ones.

Ar Goll episode one will air on S4C at 9pm on Wednesday, February 27.

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Reminder from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to pre-book for attractions

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MEMBERS of the public are being reminded to pre-book their entry tickets before visiting two popular National Park Authority-run attractions.

To allow for social distancing on site, both Carew Castle and Tidal Mill and Castell Henllys Iron Age Village have been operating a pre-booking system since last summer.

Those wishing to visit should book their tickets online before arriving at the site. This applies to Annual Pass holders and others who qualify for free entry, such as wheelchair users and accompanying carers.

Carew Castle is open to pre-booked visitors between 10am and 4pm (Tidal Mill 11.30am – 5pm), while those wishing to visit Castell Henllys will be asked to book either a morning slot (10am-1pm) or an afternoon slot (2pm-5pm) before visiting the site.

Daisy Hughes, Visitor Services Manager at Carew Castle and Tidal Mill, said: “Over the past 12 months, we have made some changes to the site and how we operate to ensure that we keep you, our staff and our local community safe.

“All areas of the Castle and Tidal Mill are open, including the Walled Garden and play area. Nest Tearoom, which has plenty of outdoor undercover seating, will be serving light lunches and homemade cakes along with hot and cold drinks throughout the day, and the Castle and Mill Shops remain open – although face coverings must be worn and only card/contactless payments are currently being accepted.

“With the exception of Nest Tearoom, pre-booking is essential, though, and we’re asking all visitors to make sure they book their entry tickets in advance, in order to avoid any delays or disappointment when they arrive on site.”

Entry tickets for both Carew Castle and Castell Henllys can be purchased by visiting www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/events

A dynamic programme of events suitable for all the family will be running at both sites throughout the summer months. Visit the above website for more information and to book tickets.

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Salvage Hunters: New series is filming in Pembrokeshire, and they need help

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SALVAGE HUNTERS, the well-loved and most watched Quest TV and Discovery Network show, is on the hunt for locations to film at in the Pembrokeshire and the wider South West Wales area to feature in the upcoming series.

We follow decorative antiques expert Drew Pritchard as he travels around various locations in the UK and abroad on his quest to find and buy unusual objects with an interesting history.

Drew really visits everywhere – beautiful estates, old family businesses, barns and attic’s stuffed full of unwanted things, museums, factories, collectors and iconic religious sites buying all sorts along the way – from gorgeous country house furniture and railwayana to 6ft 1980s disco balls and anything in-between.

Now in its sixteenth series and airing to over half a million people in the UK and millions more worldwide, this is a great opportunity for you to promote your business or home to a broad audience, sell a few items that perhaps you no longer need, make some money and celebrate the history and heritage of the UK.

If you think you fit the bill or know somebody that might then please do not hesitate to reach out and speak with a member of our team.

Call us on 0203 179 0092 or alternatively send us an email to – salvagehunters@curvemedia.com

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Haverfordwest and Cardigan high streets listed as among the ten worst in Britain

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TWO west Wales high streets have been listed in a UK wide report detailing Britain’s worst high streets.

In the highly respected report Cardigan High Street has been listed as the 4th worst in Britain, whilst Haverfordwest has come 8th.

The Harper Dennis Hobbs rankings, which come out every two years, in sadly listed six Welsh High Streets in the worst 10 category.

Some retail centres have performed well since 2019 but most Welsh towns have fallen down the list.

Overall the performance in Wales was poor with a major drop in the average position of Welsh high streets on the UK list.

More shops in Haverfordwest’s town centre have closed since the coronavirus hit (Pic: File image)

The average rank was 797 – the worst of any nation and region in the UK, showing the huge challenge Welsh Government has to revive town centres. Six of the bottom ten UK high streets were in Wales.

Normally Harper Dennis Hobbs releases the full ranking but when the firm published its 2021 report in February, it only made the top 50 best-performing locations publicly available. Now, a copy of the full list shared with i lays bare the shopping centres and high streets that have fared worst over the past year.

Top of the worst list is Girvan in South Ayrshire.

Girvan is home to around 6,500 people and has suffered the same difficulties as many cities and towns across the UK when it comes to its high street’s declining appeal – but it is the area’s “very weak retail offer” and the large number of empty shops that helped seal its place at the bottom of the league table.

Haverfordwest in 2014. can you spot any differences to now?

“Girvan along with Haverfordwest and Cardigan all scored poorly due to a very weak retail offer [and] the towns have a relatively high vacancy rate,” said Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs.

Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at HDH, explained: “Our analysis is unique as we use variables that both consumers and retailers consider when assessing shopping locations to rank the top 1,000 retail centres in Great Britain. This Vitality Ranking looks very different from previous years as the ‘retail health’ of high streets across the country has seen contrasting fortunes since the start of the pandemic.

“The most vital retail centres currently provide services that are essential to people’s lives, such as grocers and pharmacies. These essential retailers have been able to trade throughout the strictest lockdowns, and consumers have not been willing or able to travel far to visit these stores. Shopping patterns have therefore changed significantly since the start of the pandemic, and consumers’ local high streets are benefitting at the expense of major destinations.”

Turning empty retail spaces in the town into homes or offices could help rejuvenate the area and bring “demand to the doors” of shops that survive, Mr Metherell said.

Cardigan High Street before Covid-19 (Pic Stay In Wales)

Top 10 best high streets 2021

  1. Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
  2. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
  3. Tenterden, Kent
  4. Wimbledon Village, south-west London
  5. Marlborough, Wiltshire
  6. Sevenoaks, Kent
  7. Kingston upon Thames, Greater London
  8. Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
  9. Harpenden, Hertfordshire
  10. Ilkley, Bradford

Top 10 worst high streets 2021

  1. Girvan, South Ayrshire
  2. Bristol – Baldwin Street
  3. Chepstow, Monmouthshire
  4. Cardigan, Ceredigion
  5. Southsea, Portsmouth
  6. Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  7. Ammanford, Carmarthenshire
  8. Haverfordwest, Permbrokeshire
  9. Canning Town, east London
  10. Newtown, Powys

(Source: Harper Dennis Hobbs)

Cardigan High Street pictured in the early 2000’s before Currys left town (Pic Geograph)
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