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Prevention is better than a cure

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prevention is better than a cureThe Pembrokeshire Herald spends a day with the Haverfordwest Neighbourhood Policing Team

IT IS VERY EASY to think of the police as an entity in place to fix crime when it happens. Sometimes it slips our minds that a major role of our police force is to prevent crime before it strikes. Designated police officers gather from every station, specifically targeting the prevention of crime and these officers work in the Neighbourhood Police Team.

Sgt Catrin Thomas is the head of a team of four other police constables, along with six police community support officers that make up Haverfordwest’s Neighbourhood force. This team of officers have the responsibility of actively approaching the public in Haverfordwest’s very large geographical area. The town is just the beginning.

Every police officer has a responsibility to protect the public in an emergency situation. If a 999 call comes in then the attention of the officer is immediately prioritised to the alert at hand. The Neighbourhood Policing Team is given a daily brief as to any concerns that the public might have. These concerns may be raised in a well-populated area, or they may be raised in a rural and isolated part of the Haverfordwest sector. All concerns are taken seriously and no report from the public is taken as a ‘waste of time’.

In order to begin to understand the effort of the team, I joined two officers in a visit to a well-established stable in Camrose, to engage with the proprietor.The officers were welcomed as friends due to their continued support of the establishment. PCSO Jude Parr is a keen equestrian herself and the genuine concern, also displayed by PC Simon Davies, is blatantly obvious from the moment they arrived at the premises. These officers were both approachable and genuine and demonstrated that a crime does not have to be committed to build a relationship with the people that often need them the most, when a police station may not be ‘just around the corner’.

There are rural organisations that the team help to maintain. These entities are often not even heard of by the general public. Most people have heard of Neighbourhood Watch but few could claim to know of organisations such as ‘Farm Watch’ and ‘Horse Watch’ that are in place to monitor theft and vandalism of rural enterprises and homes. This idea would not be so successful if it was not for the community officers that help to spread the information needed by the community.

The very presence of officers in rural areas has given individuals the confidence to raise concerns that otherwise would have remained unspoken.

Back in the centre of town, officers are patrolling the streets attempting to create the same approachability that the rural officers achieve. Every day police officers, such as Rachel Wall and Liam Woodford, step out into the public to affirm the goals of the team. To create an approachable and friendly presence that will always take the public seriously. Rachel and Liam (Liam in particular) may seem a little camera shy but they do what they are employed to do. They do it very well.

Whilst joining the two officers around the town of Haverfordwest, it is obvious that they have a wonderful rapport with the people. Rachel and Liam take the time to speak to the general public and the proprietors of local businesses to take action against any concerns that may be present. It is refreshing to see the genuine look on a member of the public’s face when they know that there is someone there to take them seriously.

Back at the station, Ben Thomas, a local volunteer, explained to me the confidence he has built over his short time with the police. Ben is new to the team but he is training to take on the paperwork that sometimes makes a practical job very difficult. He demonstrates very well the fact that all sorts of ingredients make a good product.

Sgt Catrin Thomas obviously cares a lot for her colleagues and for the public that the team stands for. Dyfed Powys area has the least crime of any area in Wales as Catrin explains. In maintaining a community based police force the public can continue to feel in the county that they live in. I must admit, after a day with this team, I certainly believe that to be true.

Do not be afraid to contact your local police force if you have a concern. All of the public will be taken seriously and you have a local team to back you up and help. Please call 101 from your telephone or stop an officer. After all, they are there to help and not to intimidate.

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Ultra-runner demonstrates to never give up on your dreams

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Rhys O’Mara (Left), Sanna (Centre) and Hollie Thomas (Right)

INSPIRATIONAL speaker Sanna Duthie recently inspired Military and Protective Services learners at the College with her story of running the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in a record breaking 51.5 hours without any sleep, to help raise money for the Welsh Air Ambulance.

Former College learner Sanna Duthie, an office manager by day and active runner by night, shared her experience of running the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in record breaking time. Sanna had participated in a few marathons over the years such as Tenby Long Course Weekend, the Gower 50 and the London Marathon.

However, the real adrenaline rush to complete the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path was when Sanna competed in a 100 mile race of the coastal path in 2017.

“I realised I wasn’t too bad at that distance and then that’s when I got it in my head about doing the whole thing.”

Running a coastal path isn’t the easiest challenge and Sanna had to be prepared with an extensive training programme running over 300 miles a month equivalent to 10 miles a day. Sanna also had strength and conditioning training at a local gym to ensure her successful recovery.

“Coast running is hard on your muscles and joints and you need to strengthen those in order to not get injured,” said Sanna.

Originally Sanna started to run the entire coastal path in August 2020 but after 63 miles had to abandon the race due to dangerous weather conditions. This only made Sanna more determined and she completed her ultra-run on 8 th May 2021.

Sanna explained the highs and lows of the run, “There were times when I just wanted to quit, and I even started to hallucinate but I used a tactic where rather than focus on the whole run I broke it down into sections – this made things less overwhelming. Close friends and family would join alongside me on different stages of my run, and this motivated me to get to the finish line.”

Protective services learner Rhys O’Mara was thoroughly inspired by Sanna’s story, “I feel like, from the talk, I’m more inspired to go out and push myself to take on bigger and better physical challenges, the talk really showed that you can achieve anything when you dedicate yourself to a task. After College I’m looking to join the RAF as a drone pilot and have a full career in the forces.”

Sanna was the first female to run the entire coastal path and breaking the previous record of 64 hours and 32 minutes and raised an impressive £5,768.14 for charity.

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Secondary school staff and pupils must wear face coverings from December 1

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FOLLOWING the written statement from the Minister for Education yesterday (Monday) evening, all secondary school learners and staff will be required to wear face coverings indoors where physical distancing is not possible. 

Due to the uncertainty of the Omicron variant and the need to keep learning going, Pembrokeshire County Council has taken the decision to implement this Welsh Government Ministerial Decision with effect from tomorrow, Wednesday 1st of December. 

Cllr Guy Woodham, the Cabinet Member for Education & Lifelong Learning said: “Continuing to support learners and staff safety is our top priority. 

“Given that there is still much to be learnt about the Omicron variant it is important that do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus and the use of masks in classrooms and communal areas in secondary schools, where physical distancing is not possible, will allow us to support learners continuing in school settings until the end of term.” 

Using the local decision making framework for schools locally, the agreed risk level remains high with the following additional mitigating measures remaining in place:

·        Floor signage

·        Seating plans for lessons, and forward facing desks wherever possible 

·        Twice weekly Lateral Flow Device testing for all staff and learners in secondary schools

·        Masks must be worn in communal areas in secondary schools, by staff in primary schools, and must be worn by visitors

·        deep cleaning where needed in schools

·        Face coverings required on school transport

·        CO2 Monitors rolled out and used by all schools

Cllr Woodham added: “We thank everyone for playing their part and for your ongoing support during these challenging times.”

In response, Debbie Thomas, Head of Policy at the National Deaf Children’s Society Cymru, said: “Public health should be a priority, but it’s vital to remember that face coverings make life extremely difficult for deaf students. Lip reading becomes impossible and facial expressions are much harder to see, so they could be left struggling to understand their teachers, lecturers and classmates.

“Secondary schools, colleges and universities must act fast and speak to their deaf students immediately, putting reasonable adjustments in place to make sure none of them miss out on their education. If they fall behind in their studies, the consequences could last for years.”

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‘Unpleasant’ trader must pay over £19,000 for shoddy shed work

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A MAN who carried out substandard work on a shed in north Pembrokeshire and became unpleasant when challenged has been ordered to pay over £19,000.

Benjamin Michael Davies, trading as BMD Agricultural Sheds, appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Monday 22nd November, for a case brought by Pembrokeshire Trading Standards.

Davies, aged 31, was charged with and admitted five offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Davies pleaded guilty to:

  • one count of engaging in a commercial practice which was a misleading action;
  • one count of engaging in a commercial practice which contravened the requirements of professional diligence;
  • three counts of engaging in a commercial practice which was aggressive. 

All five offences relate to substandard repairs that were made to a shed roof in in 2020. 

The victim arranged with Davies to carry out repairs to the roof of an outbuilding. 

The work carried out was not of acceptable standard nor in accordance with what was originally agreed.

When challenged on the standard of the work, Davies became unpleasant. 

An expert report later confirmed the work was not satisfactory and lacked competence, including several areas where water ingress continues.

The court heard the victim was vulnerable due to personal circumstances and the incident impacted their mental health.

The victim had been left with no finances to rectify the work carried out.

Davies, of Tanbank, Prendergast, was fined £6000 plus ordered to pay £2487 costs and a £190 victim surcharge.

A compensation order for £10,500 to include £500 for emotional distress was also awarded to the victim.

Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Cllr Cris Tomos, said: “This was a very upsetting situation and I am grateful to our Trading Standards team for bringing this case and securing the convictions and the award of a substantial compensation award for the victim.

“When members of the public engage a professional they are entitled to receive a professional service.

“The fact that in this case Davies became unpleasant when challenged on the standard of his work added another level of distress to the vulnerable victim.

“I hope this case and the outcome acts as a reminder that Pembrokeshire Trading Standards will investigate complaints and take the case forward at every possible opportunity.”

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