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Exciting but challenging times ahead for new Superintendent



THE CHALLENGE of a digital revolution, maintaining the basics of policing, and continuing the legacy of his predecessor – the new Superintendent for Dyfed-Powys Police’s Pembrokeshire division has spoken of his hopes and priorities as he takes the reigns.

Ross Evans began his career with the force 16 years ago as an officer in Llanelli. He has since worked in three of the four divisions, spending time on the beat, as well as heading up major investigations as a Detective Chief Inspector in CID.

He now returns to the county he grew up in, leading a team of officers and staff in Pembrokeshire. Looking back, he says joining the police was something he wanted to do from a young age.

“Surprisingly, it was policing or teaching for me”, the father-of-two said. “I won the Bobby Busters quiz with my team at school, and I kept the plaque on my shelf. We had an officer who came into school to give us talks and advice, and I think it stuck in my mind as a career. Funnily enough, when I joined the force I was given his collar number.

“Being out on division in uniform is what I wanted to do when I joined. I was born and bred in this area, so I have a huge affinity with Pembrokeshire. I now have a chance to reconnect with the public and their priorities.

“It’s completely different being in uniform to being in CID. As a detective you’re working on individual cases and have an impact on their outcome, but now I feel like I have a chance to have a positive effect on people’s day-to-day lives, and make a difference to the community.”

While Supt Evans can claim the fame of winning the Bobby Busters school quiz all those years ago, it was his predecessor – outgoing Pembrokeshire Superintendent Ian John – who was instrumental in setting the scheme up for Dyfed-Powys.

“There are a lot of cross-overs in policing – it really is like being part of a big family,” he said.

“I always wanted to be a policeman when I was a child, but it didn’t happen straight away. I worked a lot of different jobs – on the bins, in a pub, I sold insurance, worked on building sites – you name it, I did it! But being an officer was something I always wanted to do, and the police service has been fantastic for 30 years.

“I feel really lucky to have worked in every county in the force, as well as headquarters, but it is time to move on.”

Since joining the force 30 years ago, Supt John – who retires in September – has been involved in a number of major cases, including the search for April Jones in Machynlleth and the subsequent murder investigation, but says it is the people and the environment that make the job what it is.

“I have a lot of standout memories, but the biggest satisfaction is when you see people like Ross who come into the force and are consistently trying to do their best,” he said. “There have been a lot of big jobs over the years, but having been a superintendent for many years and having the opportunity to influence and create an environment for people to give their best is a buzz.

“The greatest satisfaction is knowing you have done your bit.”

Looking forward, both officers agreed that it is an exciting but difficult time for the police service, with different types of crime emerging at a fast pace – particularly with a growing number of offences being committed online.

“We need to keep adapting,” Supt Evans said. “It’s an exciting time, but also a time where there are a lot of changes coming. Digital developments are probably the main challenge – both internally and externally.

“We’re going through a digital revolution, and we need to keep doing the basics of policing and keeping things simple, but we will need to police differently as more and more crime is committed online. It is a lot harder to keep people safe and to protect people when they can become victims of crime in their own homes over the internet. We need to work with our partners to combat these threats, and that’s what I will be looking to progress.”

Following a handover period, Supt Evans will officially take over on September 20. From then he will be responsible for setting strategy, standards and day-to-day operational policy in Pembrokeshire.

He said: “I’m excited and proud – and I know I have a lot to live up to. I’m going to do my best to do the very best job I can. We have got an excellent team of people here, and it’s my job to keep building the momentum that Ian has started.

“Ian leaves a significant legacy, and we all recognise that he has done a huge amount for the county. He has created the right environment for me to come into, and to pick up where he left off. We all wish him well for the future.”

And as he leaves with the intention of enjoying the Ryder Cup and spending time with his family, Supt Ian John added: “My parting shot would be – let’s not overcomplicate things. There are tough times coming for a lot of services, but let’s not forget what our core service it, and make sure we are delivering it.”

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Milford Haven: Apocalyptic scenes as work truck catches fire in Meyler Crescent



A MILFORD HAVEN businessman says that he is “absolutely gutted”, after he lost his tipper truck in a dramatic fire overnight.

Callum Hicks, of Meyler Crescent, was woken just after 1am on Monday morning (Mar 1) to see his vehicle in flames, with fuel running down the street on fire.

The apocalyptic scenes brought neighbours out of their homes and the fire brigade was quickly called and put out the blaze.

At this time the police and fire brigade are not suspecting foul play, but in a telephone call to Herald reporter said that he thought it was impossible that the vehicle would just spontaneously combust.

Work van: Callum Hicks with his truck, which he says was his “pride and joy”

Explaining that he thought his truck had been set on fire deliberately, Callum Hicks said: “There was CCTV of the fire, but its a football pitch length away, with a white van parked blocking the view of the camera. There was not a clear uninterrupted view.”

“I parked the truck at 2pm on Sunday afternoon so it was 11 hours before the fire started. The vehicle was therefore cold, and locked up.”

Firefighters at the scene

The Herald has asked two mechanics, one of whom has worked on Transit vans for decades. The first said: “It is very unlikely that a vehicle like this would catch fire on it’s own – its impossible – I am 99.9% sure that this was arson.”

“The second, a specialist in vehicle electronics said: “There are so many fuses and fail safes its highly unlikely for diesel vans to burst into flames like this without some kind of catalyst.”

Burned out shell: The vehicle after the fire

“There have been issues regarding Transits in the past, even a product recall involving a fire risk from a towing module. But, the chances are a million to one of it catching fire after being parked up for almost twelve hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Herald asked Callum Hicks if he could think of anyone who may want to torch his truck. He said that he could not think of anyone who would do such a thing.

Commenting on the police handling of the matter, he said: “They told my missus, Rhianna Pearce, that they were not taking matters further because it was just an accident – its not!”

“I have been in trouble with the police before, and they know I am a bit of a boy, but I think this is the reason that the police are not looking into this properly.

“At the end of the day this was a large fire in a residential area, lives could have been in danger. I have lost thousands because I was insured third-party only and I do not have cover for fire.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been asked for a comment.

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



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



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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