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Crime

Crime Commissioner addresses the challenges of rebuilding trust and confidence in policing

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POLICING by consent was the topic of discussion at Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn’s annual St David’s Conference this year, which took place on Friday 3 March 2023 at Dyfed-Powys Police Headquarters in Carmarthen.

Policing by consent, which is the theory behind the Peelian principles that were designed to define an ethical police force, is heavily reliant on public confidence. Addressing today’s challenges of rebuilding public trust and confidence, is essential to safeguard a legitimate future for policing according to PCC Llywelyn.

Public confidence and trust in our policing services today is amongst its lowest ever. High profile cases, such as the murders of Sarah Everard here in the UK, and George Floyd in the U.S, to name but two, has cast a light on what appears to be a culture of misogyny, racism, and corruption within policing.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said; “I recently heard a highly regarded and dedicated senior police officer speaking publicly that he has never been so embarrassed and ashamed of working for the Police, despite some of the excellent work that is taking place is some areas of policing.

“Rebuilding public confidence in our policing service is essential if we are to safeguard a legitimate future for policing. This cannot be done overnight. It will take years, but it’s our responsibility, and we need to address the challenges, today.

“I was joined this year, by renowned national experts and academics as guest speakers, who will shine a light on these challenges and the work that is undergoing to address them”.

Guest speakers who were talking about today’s challenges included:

  • Professor Richard Wyn Jones and Dr. Robert Jones, who have recently published a book Criminal Justice in Wales: On the Jagged Edge’;
  • Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna, who worked with both Welsh Government and Criminal Justice in Wales Board on their Anti Racist Action Plans;
  • Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, who is now working for the College of Policing and is the National Police Chief Constables’ lead on violence against women and girls;
  • Dr. Nerys Llewelyn Jones who was a Commissioner on the Law Commission which was chaired by Lord Thomas of Cwmgeidd – The Thomas Commission, which undertook a review of the justice system in Wales
  • This will be PCC Dafydd Llywelyn’s seventh annual St David’s Conference, with previous conferences focusing on Coercive Control (2017); Mental Health in Policing (2018); Cyber-Crime (2019); Rural Crime (2020), Victims (2021), Anti-Social Behaviour (2022).

The Conference, which took place at Dyfed-Powys Police Headquarters in Carmarthen, has over 130 guests attending either in person or virtual. PCC Llywelyn concluded; “I am looking forward to welcoming all to the conference this year, where we will face challenging and honest statements, as we consider, where do we go from here”.

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Crime

Detectives investigating the death of boy, 15, near Lampeter

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Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a 15-year-old boy at a location near Lampeter on Friday afternoon (March 1), the force has confirmed.

The family is being supported by specialist officers.

The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be prepared for H.M. Coroner.

The police issued a statement saying: “We are aware of concern in the community, however as an investigation is ongoing we would ask that support is given to the family by not speculating on the circumstances surrounding the death.”

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Crime

Thai woman accused of killing own son appears in court

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A THAI woman accused of murdering her seven-year-old son has appeared in court again this week.

Papaipit Linse, 42, has been charged with the murder of Louis Linse who was found dead at a house in Haverfordwest.

Linse appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Tuesday via videolink and spoke only to confirm her name.

She was not asked to enter a plea and Judge Paul Thomas KC adjourned the case until the next hearing on June 17.

The police said they were called to an address in Upper Market Street, Haverfordwest shortly before 10.45am on January 10.

It was confirmed, sadly, that a seven-year-old child was confirmed to have died a short time later.

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Crime

Former senior social worker jailed for sexual assault against a child

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A FORMER senior social worker (formerly of Pembrokeshire) who attempted to arrange to meet children for sex, and admitted enjoying ‘caressing’ a young girl, has been jailed for five years.

When police arrested Richard Ford (formerly known as Dale Richard Barker) in September 2022, they discovered more than 900 indecent images of children on his computers. Further enquiries revealed he had also sexually assaulted a child on three occasions.

The 51-year-old, formerly of Pembrokeshire, now of Princess Way Road, Hackney, was brought to Dyfed-Powys Police’s attention by two separate police officers who were working on an operation targeting people involved in online sexual exploitation. The operation deploys undercover officers with specialist online training on a range of social media sites to identify people with a sexual interest in children.

Information provided by the undercover team showed Ford had been communicating with officers on social networks for between four and six months.

Dyfed-Powys Police Detective Constable Joe Hartnell said: “One of the officers purported to be a woman with a 13-year-old daughter, while the other said they were a man with an 11-year-old adopted son, and a seven-year-old foster daughter.

“Believing the officers to be adults with a sexual interest in children, Ford took part in sexualised chat, asking to meet the officers and their children with the intention of carrying out sexual acts.

“Thankfully Ford was in contact with undercover officers at this point, and not members of the public with real children who could have come to serious harm. It is believed he had been talking to at least one other adult online, however it’s not known who this was.”

Dyfed-Powys Police’s Police Online Investigation Team (POLIT) and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) attended Ford’s home, where they seized 19 digital devices. During an in-depth forensic investigation, 913 indecent images of children were found – with more than 250 classified as Category A, the most serious.

It was established that Ford was interested in girls aged between 7 and 14, and had made comments online about ‘groping’ girls.

DC Hartnell said: “This is a man who clearly has criminal thoughts about children, and as our enquiries continued a young girl disclosed that she had been inappropriately touched by Ford on three occasions.

“She was incredibly brave in coming forward, and provided us with valuable evidence which allowed us to secure further charges against Ford.”

Ford was charged with 10 offences:

  • Possessing indecent photographs/pseudo photographs of a child (x4)
  • Distributing indecent photographs/pseudo photographs of a child
  • Attempting to cause a child aged between 13 and 15 to watch or look at an image of sexual activity
  • Attempt to arrange/facilitate the commission of child sex offence
  • Three counts of sexual assault

He appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Monday, February 26, where he was sentenced to five years in prison.

DC Hartnell added: “This has been a lengthy investigation into the actions of a man in a position of trust as a senior social worker, who in fact could not be trusted around children.

“I would like to commend the bravery of the victim in coming forward and talking to officers, as well as acknowledging the work of various departments across Dyfed-Powys Police in gathering strong evidence to convict Ford, and the support of Pembrokeshire County Council.

“We are committed to pursuing those intent on committing harm against the most vulnerable in our society, and would like to assure victims that they will be treated with compassion and dignity when they choose to report crimes to us.”

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson added: “We are aware that an individual formerly employed by the council has been sentenced for several child sex offences.

“These offences were not committed by the individual in the course of their employment with the council, and as with any investigation into child sexual abuse, the local authority cooperated with the criminal investigation, and took all steps to ensure that any children impacted by such offences are identified and supported.

“Anyone who has a concern about the welfare of a child can contact police on 101, the child care assessment team on 01437 764551, or in an emergency, dial 999.”

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