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Exciting but challenging times ahead for new Superintendent

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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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Pembroke Dock: Two in hospital following Fort Road car accident

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EMERGENCY SERVICES dealt with what has been described by a witness as a “horrific car accident” in the Pembroke Dock area on Wednesday night (Jun 12).

A 23-year-old woman, driving a black BMW, travelled down Fort Road at speed, hit a low wall, catapulting the vehicle some considerable distance across a picnic area. The vehicle ended up irreparably damaged on the beach – which was luckily not in use at the time – landing next to the old Cambridge Gun Tower.

No other vehicles seem to have been involved, police said.

The driver has been arrested but remains in hospital, one passenger is in a critical but stable condition, in Cardiff, and a second passenger sustained only minor injuries.

A spokesperson for Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 10.45pm on Wednesday night (Jun 23), to reports of a road traffic accident near the Fort Road car park in Pembroke Dock.

“We attended the scene with one rapid response vehicle, two emergency ambulances and our Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service.

“Two people were taken to University Hospital Wales, Cardiff for further treatment.”

The police are appealing in the media for information following the crash.

An official statement from the police reads as follows: “We were called to Fort Road, Pembroke Dock, at around 10.45pm on Wednesday night to reports of a single-vehicle collision. Ambulance and fire service also attended.

“A 19-year-old man was taken to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff and remains in a critical but stable condition.

“A second passenger attended hospital for minor injuries but has since been discharged. A 23-year-old woman was arrested, and currently remains in hospital.

“Anyone who witnessed the collision but who has not yet spoken to us should get in touch by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, visiting our website, or calling 101.

UPDATE: 24.06.2021, 15:47HRS

On Thursday (Jun 24) said that the female who was arrested was de-arrested because of the need for medical treatment, and is “no longer under arrest at this time.”

The police also added that their investigation was “still active”.

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Pembrokeshire call handler helps deliver Llanelli couple’s new baby

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A 999 CALL HANDLER from Pembrokeshire has helped deliver a Llanelli couple’s baby.

Father-of-two Chris Bassett, from Hook, answered the call from the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen, and whose instructions on loudspeaker enabled the pair to deliver their 8lb 1oz new arrival safely.

Thanks to Chris, Troy Smith, 34, and partner Abigail Jones, 33, delivered baby Arabella Dilys Smith in the bedroom of their Llanelli home.

Troy said: “I’ve never felt adrenaline like it but I knew I had to focus on the situation for Abigail and the baby’s sake.

“It all happened so quickly, but Chris’ voice on the other end of the phone kept us calm.”

Abigail, a teacher at Ysgol Carreg Hir in Briton Ferry, went into labour at around 10.00pm on Thursday, June 3, and made a trip to hospital, where nurses confirmed she was in the early stages.

The couple returned to their Pwll home, but their soon-to-be daughter had other ideas.

Troy said: “At around 4.30am, Abigail developed a lot of pain and said she had an urge to push.

“I thought, ‘Right, this is happening’ and phoned an ambulance because I knew I’d be delivering the baby right there and then.”

It was Chris, a former RAF Aerospace Systems Operator, who picked up the call in the early hours of Friday, June 4.

The 29-year-old, who has been with the Welsh Ambulance Service for 18 months, said: “As soon as I answered the call, it was obvious that Troy and Abigail were in distress, as anyone would be in that situation.

“The priority was to get Abigail in a comfortable position to deliver the baby safely.

“For me, it was about giving them clear instructions while trying to keep them both calm.”

Troy added: “I just did what came naturally. When you’re in that situation, you just do it.

“As soon as Arabella came, I felt this wave of relief and I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous she was.

“Chris was so professional and handled the situation really well.

“He gave us all the information and kept us calm.”

Ambulance crews arrived soon after, and took Abigail to Carmarthen’s Glangwili General Hospital, where she was treated for shock before being discharged the following day.

Abigail said: “The whole thing was petrifying because I just never expected to be having the baby at home, but we’re so grateful to Chris for helping us to deliver Arabella safely.”

Chris added: “In your role as a 999 call handler, you’re helping people in their darkest hour, but I’m just glad this call had a happy ending.

“This is the third baby I’ve helped to deliver during my time at the ambulance service, but the first one I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.”

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Covid causes partial school closure at Haverfordwest High VC

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A PARTIAL school closure is in force today at Haverfordwest High VC school after a pupil in year 9 has tested positive for coronavirus.

All students in year 9 must stay at home , isolate and await further instruction while the school completes all of the necessary Track and Trace processes.

In a statement released by the school, they said: “We have been informed that a Year 9 pupil has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We wish them a speedy recovery.

“As a precautionary measure and to enable us to complete all of the necessary Track and Trace processes, the school will be closed to Year 9 Pupils today.

“The school remains open to all other year groups.

“Until further notice, Year 9 students should stay at home and isolate until further instructions are given. Lessons for all other year groups will continue as usual. Unless your child is in Year 9 they should attend school.”

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