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Plaid launches commissioner manifestos

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Critical of Christopher: Dafydd Llywelyn did not pull his punches

Critical of Christopher: Dafydd Llywelyn did not pull his punches

PLAID CYMRU candidates and members gathered in Carmarthen to launch the party’s national manifesto for the upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election on May 5 – the same day as the Assembly election.

The Party of Wales ‘ candidates for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in the four policing forces are Arfon Jones (North Wales), Linet Purcell (South Wales), Darren Jones (Gwent) and Dafydd Llywelyn (Dyfed Powys).

The candidate for Dyfed Powys, Dafydd Llywelyn, who is the former Principal Crime and Intelligence Analyst for Dyfed Powys police force, said that the manifesto was designed to create ‘a strong, just and safe Wales’ and that this ambition would be fulfilled with three main priorities.

He added that Plaid Cymru Police and Crime Commissioners would focus on creating strong neighbourhood policing teams to cut crime in communities, protecting vulnerable groups and supporting victims, and breaking the cycle of crime to reduce future offending.

Speaking at the launch, Dafydd Llywelyn added: “Our manifesto for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections is designed to secure a strong, just and safe Wales. At the heart of our proposals lie a commitment to community safety, victim support and breaking the cycle of reoffending.”

The former police analyst went on to say: “If elected, Plaid Cymru Police and Crime Commissioners would work to ensure that all parts of Wales have strong neighbourhood policing teams that will cut crime in our communities, that vulnerable groups and victims are protected and supported so that they’re not just statistics, and that the cycle of crime is broken as often as possible.

“Plaid Cymru puts the best interests of Wales first – nationally and locally. Our PCCs would champion the needs of communities as well as continue to campaign against further Westminster cuts which have led to severely depleted frontline services.”

Looking at local policing priorities, Dafydd Llywelyn published his 10 personal pledges under the themes of Trust and Efficiency and Security and Safety as his platform to be elected as the new Police Commissioner for Dyfed Powys.

Following his address to the gathered audience and members of the press, he spoke to The Herald.

We began by asking the Plaid candidate why he had put himself forward for election.

He told us: “As many people will be aware I used to work for Dyfed Powys for thirteen and a half years. When Police and Crime Commissioners were put in post I did feel that there was a change in the way that the police were being run. I found frustrating working under that set up. As a result of that I thought perhaps I needed to be looking outside in terms of employment.

“I now lecture in criminology at Aberystwyth University. Plaid Cymru hadn’t put anyone forward the first time round, so I felt that I wasn’t represented on the ballot paper. It was a chance discussion last year when I heard the decision had changed and that Plaid Cymru were going to field candidates. I decided then to put my name forward. My background in the Police stands me in good stead.”

Dafydd Llewellyn was very direct in his criticism of the current Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon: “We have a police commissioner who has zero policing experience and that was very apparent in his first tenure.

“While I haven’t served as a police officer I did work as a support staff member in the Dyfed Powys force. Being a lecturer I am able to look at it in a critical way. I very often do research and I look at the issues of crime. I think my former colleagues appreciate that my experience does give me an insight into real policing issues.”

Given the financial difficulties facing local authorities and the Dyfed Powys- Police force we asked the Mr Llywelyn how he planned to tackle drug and alcohol related crime in the area.

He responded by identifying the range of stakeholders that a PCC needs to work with: “Drugs and alcohol-related crimes are issues you can only tackle in partnership with unitary authorities. The authority here in Carmarthenshire has called time after time for CCTV and he (Christopher Salmon) has not fulfilled that requirement. As far as social economic issues, which are often seen as the causes of crime, they are issues the Police Commissioners cannot deal with in isolation. They have to work with partner agencies, with charities and unitary authorities themselves.”

He added that it was time for Wales to be in control of its own policing policy and priorities: “We would like for recommendations in the Silk report two years for the devolving powers of policing to Cardiff to be followed through.”

The Herald asked Dafydd Llywelyn if there was a greater role to be played in crime prevention rather than crime busting.

He said: “Community work and work within the community is critical in terms of prevention and intervention. There are good examples of crime prevention undertaken by people like the youth service. I mentioned in my speech that there is a fragmentation of funding in terms of youth services. We can address that and give for the five and ten year period a strategy in terms funding for some of these agencies. It would give them a stronger footing in terms of some of the activities they want to carry out.”

With an implied criticism of a decision reached by Mr Salmon, Dafydd Llywelyn continued: “The prevention aspect is very important. I mentioned CCTV as preventing incidents from happening because they are spotted. CCTV doesn’t work as a deterrent if people understand that it isn’t being monitored. For town centre violence in particular alcohol related violent crime the deterrent is there: especially if you understand it is being monitored.”

He went on to announce further plans as Police and Crime Commissioner if elected saying that he would include investment in a modern CCTV infrastructure, road safety and ensuring victims are properly supported.

We suggested that some people might believe that the cost of employing Police and Crime Commissioners would be better spent on front line policing services.

Without hesitation the candidate explained: “If you tot the cost of their offices up it amounts to around £3m. I would agree with you that it would be better spent on front line policing. My first course of action would be to scrap the role of Deputy Police Commissioner – an unelected role which costs tens of thousands of pounds a year.”

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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