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Drink and drug driving still a problem in the local police area, say cops

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A THIRD of all people arrested by Dyfed-Powys Police last weekend were suspected of drink or drug driving, as roads policing officers crack down on dangerous drivers.

The force has revealed that its Roads Policing Unit officers arrested 20 people on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol over a three day period (Friday, September 25 – Sunday, September 27).

This accounts for a third of all arrests across the four divisions over the weekend.

Breaking the figures down, the force says 11 of the people arrested were suspected to have illegal substances in their system at the time of driving, while nine were suspected to be over the alcohol limit.

Inspector for Specialist Operations Andy Williams said: “Unfortunately, we have seen a dramatic rise in arrests over the past 12 months, with the number of drug driving incidents surpassing drink driving.

“We are putting this down to increased detection rates, and the highly proactive work of our Roads Policing Unit officers across the force, who are doing all they can to ensure these dangerous drivers are taken off the road.”

Looking at the picture across the force area for last weekend, Powys saw the highest number of suspected drink or drug driving incidents, with more than half of all arrests across the division (56 per cent) being made for these offences.

Drink or drug driving accounted for 30 per cent of the weekend’s arrests in Pembrokeshire, 29 per cent of arrests in Ceredigion, and 19 per cent of arrests in Carmarthenshire.

Insp Williams explained when drivers would be tested for having alcohol or drugs in their system.

“There are various scenarios in which we have cause to carry out a drug swipe or breath test,” he said.

“We might pull a vehicle over due to the way it is being driven, if it shows on our system as having no tax or insurance, or if it has been involved in a crash.

“Officers are well attuned to the signs that a driver could be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and closely monitor the behaviour of the driver in these situations.

“They make an assessment on whether a test is needed, and just like doing a breath test at the roadside, they can carry out a drug wipe which will give an indication within minutes that someone has an illegal substance in their system.

“If this is the case, they are taken to custody where a blood sample is taken for analysis and use in subsequent prosecutions.”

The weekend’s drug drive arrests saw positive indications of drivers with cocaine and cannabis in their system, with male and female drivers ranging from 18 to 55 old arrested.

Inspector Williams issued a reminder that by driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you put your own life and the lives of other road users at risk.

“One incident over the weekend saw officers respond to reports of a collision in Powys where a car had landed on its roof,” he said.

“The driver was displaying behaviour which indicated that he had taken drugs, so a test was carried out once officers we drug swiped, with a positive reading at the roadside.

“Fortunately he was not seriously injured, but the outcome could have been very different.”

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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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