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Improved chopper cover for cops

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Improvements: Dyfed-Powys police helicopter service

Improvements: Dyfed-Powys
police helicopter service

THE PEOPLE of Dyfed-Powys are to get better police cover from the air. New arrangements will see a helicopter continue to be based at Pembrey in Carmarthenshire, with new cover also available from elsewhere. Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon said: “This is great news for communities across our four counties. I’ve been determined for this police force to improve air cover across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys. This force covers a huge area – more than half of Wales – and policing locations so far apart brings unique challenges.”

Mr Salmon and Chief Constable Simon Prince have spent several months working towards a deal with the new National Police Air Service (NPAS) which is being rolled out following a review of air support for England and Wales. The deal, due to take effect next year, will see Dyfed-Powys’s own helicopter remain at Pembrey then be replaced at the same airport by an Airbus EC135 helicopter owned and maintained by NPAS.

It will see air support for Dyfed- Powys drawn from multiple bases and with a number of aircraft. Emergency response will be provided from Pembrey and St Athan, near Cardiff, and the force will be able to call on support from NPAS helicopters at Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, and Halfpenny Green, Wolverhampton.

The new service will cost Dyfed- Powys Police around £890,000 a year. The existing service cost the force around £1.1m in 2013-14 and is budgeted to cost around £1.2m in 2014-15. Dyfed-Powys Chief Constable Simon Prince said: “The introduction of the NPAS helicopter will allow far greater mobility to the officers of Dyfed-Powys Police and ensure that residents in every corner of the force area will benefit from this improved resource.”

The air service helps with searches for missing people, suspects and vehicles, casualty evacuation, transporting specialist teams around Dyfed-Powys’s 4,188 square miles, gathering intelligence including using automatic number plate recognition and video.

A helicopter takes around 12 minutes to search a square mile at a cost of £160 – an operation that would take 12 police officers 454 hours at a cost of around £4,680. This year the Dyfed-Powys helicopter has played a major role in recovering property worth more than £120,000, locating 23 vulnerable and missing people, and transporting seven people with life threatening injuries to hospital. It played a key role, working with neighbourhood police teams, in closing down several drugs factories and supply chains.

Flying times include Pembrey to Aberystwyth in 24 minutes; the equivalent road journey of around 64 miles takes around 112 minutes. The Dyfed-Powys helicopter unit has provided an eye-in-the-sky service for 23 years. Led by Inspector Ian Richards and featuring a sergeant, two pilots and five observers, it operates a 10-year-old Agusta 109E Power helicopter. The new arrangements will see seven of Dyfed-Powys’s nine helicopter personnel transfer to NPAS.

They will cover Dyfed-Powys but will also fly outside the area. NPAS, being paid for by all forces in England and Wales, aims to deliver a cost-effective national, borderless service making use of the nearest aircraft. It aims to improve upon current response capability. Its aircraft will be available 24/7 and will be based at strategic locations around England and Wales.

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Police call for vigilance to report illegal raves

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is asking farmers and local landowners to be on the alert over the next few months for warning signs of any illegal gatherings planned for their land over the summer.

Gatherings – such as illegal raves – can cause considerable anxiety to the community and if they are not dealt with swiftly, they are difficult to stop or otherwise control, due often to the sheer numbers of persons involved and the safety aspects surrounding breaking up such an event.

Superintendent Robyn Mason said: “There is little doubt that these type of events are very well planned, organised and that local knowledge is important in drawing down the main group to a particular ‘vulnerable’ field, or area of land which has been targeted previously as a suitable venue.

“Farmers, landowners and local communities are encouraged to report any suspicious activity immediately to the Police; this may be an unusual numbers of vehicles, especially camper vans, vans or trucks in the locality, illegal trespassers who may be doing ‘recce’ of sites in advance of the event.

“I can assure local communities that Police will take the appropriate action to deter illegal gatherings and deal robustly with any criminal offences discovered or disclosed.”  

Members of the public are also urged to be vigilant of persons who approach landowners or enquiring for land, in the guise of hiring for apparently acceptable activities such as gymkhanas and scouts/guides events.

Please contact Police on 101 with reports on any suspicious activity.

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Wheelchair-bound man jailed for child sex offences

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A CHILD sex offender from Ystrad Meurig has been jailed despite being wheelchair-bound.

Dean Harper, aged 61, had distributed child pornography and tried to entice a 10-year-old girl into sexually abusing herself and sending him photographs.

Harper, of Sisial y Pin, Ffair Rhos, admitted downloading 317 indecent images of children in the most serious category A, 400 in category B and 500 in C.

He also admitted sending images in all three categories to a third party, all on a single day in October, 2016.

Harper also admitted attempting to incite the girl into sexual activity knowing that she was only 10-years-old.

Kevin Jones, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that the distribution of the images alerted the police who raided Harper’s home and removed computer equipment.

An examination of his internet activity revealed he had made contact with a girl via social media and swapped messages with her.

The judge, Mr Recorder Peter Griffiths told Harper his offending was serious and a jail sentence was inevitable despite his disability.

Harper was jailed for a total of two years and ordered to register with the police as a sex offender for 10 years.

He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order which will restrict his contact with young people and his internet activity after his release from prison.

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Royals set to visit Ceredigion during summer visit

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AS PART of their annual summer visit to Wales, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will be visiting Ceredigion next month.

From July 2-6, Charles and Camilla will tour the country, undertaking over 20 engagements across the country.

On July 3, The Prince of Wales will visit Dà Mhìle Distillery, Llandysul, the first organic distillery in the UK approved by the Soil Association, where he was previously gifted the thousandth bottle to be produced by Dà Mhìle.

The Prince of Wales will also visit St. Gwenog’s Church, Llanwenog, and view their unique carvings created by Joseph Reubens, a Belgian World War One refugee. His Royal Highness will also meet members of their local community.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall’s fourteenth annual Summer visit to Wales will feature celebrations to mark the 70th Anniversary of The National Health Service and the marking the 150th anniversary of the Heart of Wales railway line amongst other events.

A Clarence House spokesperson said: “The Prince and The Duchess are really looking forward to their annual summer visit to Wales where they will be celebrating key anniversaries for the National Health Service, the Heart of Wales railway line and the 90th anniversary of Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisation. Their Royal Highnesses relish the opportunity to meet members of the community who are making a difference to Welsh life.”

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