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Police use live data to track traffic hotspots

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POLICE are using live data to track the busiest areas across Wales as six times more bikers take to the roads over summer weekends.

Technology under trunk roads across the country is feeding police with patterns of vehicle movements as they happen, allowing officers to be strategically placed at traffic hotspots.

Figures issued by Dyfed-Powys Police show that over the past two weekends, there have been six times more bikers on the roads compared with weekdays.

With a concern that increased traffic could result in higher numbers of collisions, police have adopted a combination of technology-led and traditional enforcement tactics to reduce this risk.

This approach has already seen a drop in the number of collisions involving motorbikes.

Chief Inspector Tom Sharville said: “With the recent easing of lockdown restrictions on travel in Wales, we have seen a significant but not surprising increase of bikers using our roads over the past two weekends.

“If you compare the numbers we’ve seen on the roads over the past two weekends – around 22,000 on the first Saturday, rising to nearly 27,000 on the Sunday – with an average weekday of about 4,500 bikes in a day, we’re looking at six times as many bikers on the road.

“The number of collisions involving bikes during the first weekend saw a demand on resources that had not been there in previous weekends during lockdown.

“To combat this, we’ve been looking at different ways of working to ensure the safety of bikers, who are our most vulnerable group of road users.”

A joint approach to roads policing will continue to be taken by Dyfed-Powys Police, the three other Welsh forces and the Welsh Government in coming weeks, as road safety campaign Operation Darwen is in full swing.

Live time data from loop sensors beneath trunk roads is broken down to the location of motorbikes and fed to Roads Policing Unit supervisors. This allows them to swiftly deploy high visibility resources to areas with the highest concentration of bikers.

The use of technology to plot police vehicles is also being used simultaneously with North Wales Police to monitor where available officers are located, so they can be deployed with maximum impact.

CI Sharville said: “Op Darwen is not about targeting bikers, or trying to catch them out – rather it focusses on ensuring the safety of riders in Wales.

“It is a fluid operation, with plans changing as we keep an eye on conditions such as the weather forecast, and officers being quickly moved across the force area to meet demand.

“Using a combination of technology and traditional enforcement tactics, we are able to ensure a high visibility presence in the area it’s most needed and increasing the safety of bikers and drivers.

“This way of working reduced the number of collisions involving bikers from five the weekend before last to just one last weekend.

“We will continue to be flexible in our approach to roads policing, and through our joint approach with partners help to keep all road users safe this summer.”

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Community

The Harbourmaster: Special rail excursion draws crowds to Milford Haven

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MILFORD HAVEN witnessed an extraordinary event yesterday as a special charter train, operated by UK Railtours, made a unique visit to the town, drawing in 500 railway enthusiasts. Departing from London Paddington, the 13-carriage train, which included both first class and standard accommodations, travelled off the usual passenger routes to provide a scenic journey along the south Wales coast.

Starting the day with pick-ups from various locations including Slough, Reading, Swindon, and Bristol Parkway, the train ventured through the Severn Tunnel into Wales, showcasing a series of rarely used freight tracks. Notably, the locomotive switched at Newport to a pair of GBRf Class 66 freight engines, enhancing the experience for those on board by traversing tracks seldom seen by passenger services.

The journey took passengers through Cardiff, Bridgend, and Port Talbot Parkway, deviating at Court Sart Junction to follow the diversionary Swansea District line. The train paused at various locations including Llanelli and Haverfordwest, where passengers enjoyed a 90-minute break while the train was serviced.

A major highlight of the trip was the exploration of the seldom-visited Robeston branch, a treat for the rail enthusiasts who filled the train to capacity, necessitating a waiting list for hopeful travellers. The venture concluded at Milford Haven, where passengers disembarked for a photo session before the train commenced its return journey to London, including a final scenic pass via the Swansea Avoiding line and the Bishton flyover.

Local Councillor Nicola Harteveld of Milford Haven Town Council expressed delight at the influx of visitors, noting, “What an incredible sight at Milford Waterfront today with passengers enjoying our local scenery. It’s a testament to the unique charm and appeal of special rail tours.”

First class passengers were treated to The Great British Breakfast and a four-course dinner, while a buffet car served those in standard class, ensuring all passengers enjoyed their journey with comfort and style.

This tour, fully booked in all classes, underscores the continuing enthusiasm for unique rail experiences in the UK, combining a love for heritage rail with the exploration of less-travelled tracks. As the train made its way back to London Paddington, the participants reflected on a day filled with adventure and picturesque landscapes, leaving them with memories of a rare rail journey along the historic and scenic routes of Wales.

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Crime

Police appeal after girl, 15, assaulted at Lydstep Point to Point

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DYFED-POWYS-POLICE says it is investigating an assault which occurred at Lydstep Point to Point event near to the announcers stand, between 4.30-4.45pm on Monday, April 1, 2024.

The victim, a 15-year-old girl, was allegedly assaulted by two other females, one believed to be in her late teens and the other in her late thirties. The young victim sustained facial injuries.

Police are now appealing for anyone who attended the event that may have information that could help them with their investigation to contact PC 772 Boyt either through a direct message on social media, online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing [email protected] or by calling 101.

Quote reference: 24*310890

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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News

Major search in the area of The Cleddau Bridge and Hobbs Point

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A MULTI-AGENCY rescue response was initiated first thing on Saturday following reports of a person in difficulty in the area surrounding The Cleddau Bridge, The Herald has been told.

Police were joined by two coastguard rescue teams, the RNLI and a coastguard rescue helicopter during the search.

A police launch was also used in the operation.

Details are still unclear, but we understand that the search has now been stood down.

MORE TO FOLLOW.

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