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Demands for police to be reimbursed for Penally

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· A million pounds spent on policing to December
· Protests for and against cost police £685,000
· Crime panel: “Government must fully reimburse Dyfed-Powys Police for all costs”
· Home Office: “We have already agreed to provide £2.5million”

POLICING Penally camp has cost more than a million pounds and taken up more than 8,000 policing hours in the first six weeks after it was opened.

Housing asylum seekers in Pembrokeshire have placed a “significant financial burden” on Dyfed-Powys Police, the force’s Police and Crime Panel have said.
Between September 25 and November 11, more than 1,000 officers were called to attend the asylum camp in the village of Penally on the outskirts of Tenby.

ONE MILLION SPENT

At the panel, chairman Alun Lloyd-Jones said policing the Penally camp involved 13,919 hours of officer time, including 9,681 overtime at a cost of £297,000, up to the end of December.

The total costs of policing protests at the camp were £685,000, the panel said, totalling just short of a million pounds at £982,000.

Obviously, with costs this year well over a million pounds has been spent – mostly in overtime payments.

The panel is calling on the UK Government department to reimburse the force for the additional costs.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police Dafydd Llywelyn said he wanted additional funding from the Home Office to support local resources that have been put under pressure as a result of the decision to utilise the camp as an asylum centre.

Last month there were two protests by the asylum seekers themselves in Tenby over conditions. Mr Llywelyn said: “I’m aware that police were in attendance during protests that have taken place this week, and I was pleased to hear that the protests were peaceful with no disorder reported.

“These are extremely difficult times for all of us. I have seen first-hand the difficult circumstances encountered by individuals that are residing at the centre and I have met with the Chief Inspector of Asylum and Immigration who gave me assurances about an independent inspection that will take place in the near future.

“However, now is not the time to be gathering to hold protests, and I can understand the frustrations of the local communities when observing such activities.

“Officers will and have been acting accordingly when Covid-19 regulations are breached, and I’m reassured that the Force have been liaising with the site management team to educate them of the Force’s four E principles’ approach – engage, explain, encourage and enforce.

“In the meantime, we remain in regular contact with local partners and service providers, monitoring all situations around the facility,”

The Penally training camp began to house up to 250 asylum seekers in September, including men from Iraq, Iran and Syria.

As the Herald has extensively covered, it has attracted multiple protests – some by far-right groups and some by concerned locals.

There have also been other protests in support of the asylum seekers, and some from asylum seekers themselves protesting against the conditions in the camp.

SPECIAL FUNDING INSUFFICIENT

The panel states that under Home Office police funding rules special grants can be given to cover additional pressures, but only if the total cost of these pressures exceeds 1% of the force’s net revenue expenditure for the year.

According to the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel, this would mean it would not be able to claim any additional grants from the Home Office to cover costs unless extra costs exceeded £1.129 million.

The panel said it is calling on Home Secretary Priti Patel, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse and MPs in the area – including the Welsh Secretary Simon Hart – to encourage the UK Government to fully reimburse Dyfed-Powys Police for all costs incurred in policing Penally camp – even if the costs are below this Home Office threshold.

The UK’s Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has begun an inspection of the use of hotels and army barracks as temporary accommodation for asylum seekers and is calling for evidence.

The Home Office spokesman told The Herald that it had agreed extra funding and said: “We have already agreed to provide £2.5million of Special Grant funding to Dyfed-Powys Police in relation to these costs up to September 2021.”

Dyfed Powys Police said it had a number of officers dedicated specifically to the Penally Camp to undertake regular patrols both inside the camp, around the village and to respond to calls for the camp.

These duties took up 8,264 hours of police time in the six-week period, not counting officers who have responded to incidents on occasions where the officers undertaking the Penally camp duties have not been working.

Although these officers would have been working anyway and are therefore not an “additional” cost, it does not take into account any overtime to help replace the reallocated officers.

HIGH NUMBER OF ARRESTS

A number of arrests were made in that same period as protesters gathered outside the camp during September and October calling for the camp to be closed.

In total, 13 arrests were made for offences. These included: racially aggravated Section 4 public order offences; obstructing and/or resisting a constable in execution of duty; racially or religiously aggravated intentional harassment/alarm/ distress; arson; use of threatening abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent or likely to stir up racial hatred, affray; and actual bodily harm.

The force would not divulge how many of those arrests involved protesters and how many were men living inside the camp.

The operational demands were originally thought to be in the region of £3 million but have since been projected to cost Dyfed-Powys Police in the region of £1.2m as lockdown has forced protesters away.

In a report at a recent finance meeting Dafydd Llywelyn, the police and crime commissioner, wrote that he had estimated operational costs for policing the camp to be around £1.2m for the year.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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Business

Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence

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GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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News

Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms

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AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/

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