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Lib Dems lead campaign to support local newspapers in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

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THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS are leading a cross-party campaign calling on the Government to support local and independent media through an increased share of public health communications spending.

Writing to the government, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael had warned that although the “All in, All together” campaign had provided public health information as well as advertising revenue for major media groups, local press organisations and individual journalists had raised the Government’s lack of support for them.

In a letter to the Government, the cross-party campaign is calling for the Government to pledge a proportionate share of public health advertising spend to local press, meaning both a short-term boost to the Government’s public health communications as well as a long-term investment in protecting and maintaining local media across the United Kingdom.

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said: “Local press are some of the most trusted sources of news for our communities and we must support them in this challenging time. They are vital to our efforts to respond and recover from the coronavirus and yet they are facing significant financial difficulties.

“This letter is about getting a fair share of government advertising spend for local and independent press, to reflect both their importance in our communities and their financial needs. The Secretary of State for Health has an important role in deciding where these advertising funds go.”

Alistair Cameron, Liberal Democrat National Assembly Candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire said:

“Local journalism is an important part of the community here in West Carmarthen and South Pembrokeshire. Local outlets such as the Pembrokeshire Herald play a crucial role in not only keeping us all informed about the news in Pembrokeshire, but they also are part of the fight against coronavirus.

“The Government must take action in pledging a proportionate share of public health advertising spend to local media. This will not only provide financial support to ensure these outlets don’t go under during this crisis, but step up the public information available to the public which is imperative to delaying the spread of the virus.”

Printing the Herald series newspapers (File Image)

The text of the letter from Alistair Carmichael is as follows: ‘We write regarding our shared concerns about the situation of local press and media during the coronavirus crisis and our interest in the government’s support for this vital industry. We seek urgent clarification from the government on how it intends to support and enhance local press despite current challenges.

The new “All in, All together” campaign is a welcome effort by the government to provide essential information at this time. It also fulfils a role in providing financial support for the press through much-needed advertising revenue.

We have, however, received representations from local press organisations and individual journalists, many of whom are concerned about a perceived lack of support from government for smaller-scale news outlets by comparison to major media groups. This includes the Independent Community News Network (ICNN), the official trade body for independent community news publishers, which reaches over 5m people online each month, and acts as part of the fourth largest news publishing organisation in the UK.

Accurate and timely information from trusted sources is vital during this pandemic. It is well-known that local press act as some of the most trusted sources of information for our communities. We believe that ignoring or limiting the use of these media outlets risks leaving our constituents with insufficient access to the trusted knowledge they need.

Local media groups have been put greatly at risk economically by the current crisis. Many press outfits have limited financial reserves or do not meet the criteria for other forms of government support, whether due to their size, the diverse ways in which they operate or other reasons. Continued financial exposure without support may risk an existential crisis for much of our independent media.

We believe that it is essential that the government show its support for independent and community media at this time by pledging a proportionate share of public health advertising spend to local press. This would represent both a short-term boost to the government’s public health communications, and a long-term investment in protecting and maintaining our diverse media landscape, throughout the United Kingdom.’

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Former Cardigan Castle director sentencing delayed

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THE SENTENCING of a former director of Cardigan Castle who has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft totalling over £40,000 has been delayed.

Former director, Jac Davies, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft was due to be sentenced on Wednesday (May 4) at Swansea Crown Court – but has now been delayed.

Davies who held the £40,000 a year post fraudulently obtained £33,098.75 and stole a further £7,932.97 from the award winning restoration project..

Davies held his position at Cardigan Castle from September 2017 to November 2019.

The defendant has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining £4,143.20 from the castle on December 21, 2017.

Again Davies admitted to fraudulently obtaining £28,955.55 between February 4, 2019 and November 3, 2019.

Two further charges of theft were also admitted – one charge of  theft from the castle of £1,908.18 between May 2, 2018 and May 24, 2019 and a further charge of theft from Cardigan Castle Enterprises to the sum of £6,024.79.

Dyfed-Powys Police conducted a year long investigation after being contacted by the castle board of directors.

Financial discrepancies were identified during financial monitoring.

An internal investigation was launched and Davies left his position within the castle in October 2019 following a disciplinary process.

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Dyfed-Powys Police criticised for failing to record thousands of crimes

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A SHOCKING new report says that Dyfed-Powys Police failed to record thousands of crimes, despite being told to improve two-and-a-half years ago.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found the force had documented just 87.6% of reported crime – meaning upto 4,400 crimes are not recorded each year.

The report highlighted that of violent crimes, 85.4% were registered, which means about 2,400 went unrecorded, some involving domestic abuse or the vulnerable.

The force said it had “plans in place to improve its crime recording.”

HMIC reached their conclusion by comparing the number of reports to the police with recorded numbers. About 35,900 were reported.

In 2018, HMIC found that our local force was too often not recording crimes. And in 2014 it was reported the force was one of the worst in the UK at recording crimes. 

Dyfed-Powys Police T/Chief Constable, Claire Parmenter was quick to respond to the shocking finding. In a statement emailed to The Herald she said: “We accept the concerns and recommendations published by HMICFRS in respect of crime data integrity. As an organisation, we are firmly committed to supporting victims and putting them at the heart of everything we do. The force has plans in place to improve its crime recording and I am determined we will get this right.

“Since the previous HMICFRS inspection in 2018 we have made significant improvements in our response to Domestic Abuse victims, creating the vulnerability desk which provides real time intelligence to officers attending incidents of Domestic Abuse and ensuring that safeguarding arrangements are in place through a new partnership hub. Recent audits in April evidenced we were achieving a 98% compliance for the completion of risk assessments. This ensures that every Domestic Abuse victim is looked after and kept safe.

“We have a programme of change already in place which will deliver significant process and cultural change. The elements of this programme will improve the forces’ ability to manage demand, support victims, improve the timeliness and quality of investigations and supervision of crime. HMICFRS were unable to take this project into account as part of this inspection. Delivery plans commence next month (June 2021).

“Since the date of this inspection, we are already seeing improvements as a result of the swift additional action we have taken, achieving 100% crime recording compliance in respect of anti-social behaviour for February and March 2021 which is positive.”

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Firefighters extinguish blaze at St Catherine’s Fort, Tenby

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A CONTROLLED wood fire earlier in the day caused a fire to break out on Tenby’s St Catherine’s Island on Thursday (May 6).

Heat that was caused by a wood fire earlier in the day caused a ignition on the unburned wood nearby that was needed to be extinguished by Tenby fire crew.

Taking to their Facebook page, St Catherine’s island thanked Tenby Fire Brigade for their assistance.

No serious damage was caused by the incident.

The spokesperson said: “A massive shout out to Tenby Fire Brigade last night who were called to the Island last night after we left following a long day working on the Fort and burning off all the old flooring, having now replaced it all. 

“We had spent at least half an hour making sure that our controlled barrel fire was out. Unfortunately the ground was so hot it transferred to the rest of the unburned wood. 

“Thanks to our amazing local Fire Service, they were on hand to help us out and no damage occurred.”

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