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CCTV ‘a priority’ for new commissioner

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Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 14.13.55POLICE and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has said that the reinstatement of CCTV will be a priority. 

The Plaid Cymru P&CC made the statement at a recent meeting of Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel, where concerns were also raised about road safety and drug use.

Dafydd Llywelyn was questioned by chair Councillor Alun Lloyd Jones and panel members at the latest meeting, which was held at Ceredigion County Hall in Aberaeron.

Their concerns related to the annual report which the Police and Crime Commissioner has a statutory duty to publish.

Although the report covered the year from April 2015-March 2016, when the previous Commissioner was in office, Mr Llywelyn, who took up his post on May 12, presented it to the panel.

Members acknowledged that it was the report of his predecessor, but they asked what actions were being taken in areas of particular concern.

Cllr Lloyd Jones said: “I have great concerns over road safety – it is unacceptable the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

“There have been three accidents in as many months on the A487 trunk road which runs through my village, Llanfarian where my house is situated, and indeed the whole length of the A487 trunk road to Cardigan.”

Mr Llywelyn said: “In my first eight weeks in office, road safety and speeding are issues which have already been raised with me.

“These matters will be addressed in my annual plan, discussions and engagement with the panel and the communities will be set up as part of the planning.”

The Commissioner was questioned on his plans for CCTV and told the panel he was looking at reinstating and reinvesting in it.

He said he had already met with chief officers and told them it was a priority, and that a project team would be set up to take it forward.

Drug abuse, rising crime figures in certain areas, response times to 999 and 101 calls, investment in SARC centres and research were also discussed.

The Commissioner said there was a national trend in recorded crime going up, which he had raised with the Chief Constable.

“The crime landscape across Dyfed-Powys is changing,” Mr Llywelyn said. “Cyber crime is on the increase and so is sexual crime as more victims are coming forward.

“There is some work for me to do as a Commissioner to explain the complexities of police crime recording.”

The panel, which was set up to support and scrutinise the Police and Crime Commissioner, meets every three months.

Information about the panel, agendas, meeting dates, membership and news is available on the website at www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.org. uk.

The meetings are open to the press and public, and with the prior permission of the Chair, people can ask questions or make a statement in relation to a matter being considered by the panel, with the exception of personnel matters.

Questions can also be submitted to the panel either in writing or via the website contact form.

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Council tax reduction supports people on low incomes

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A COUNCIL Tax Reduction Scheme is in place to help people who are on a low income. The council administers the scheme on behalf of the Welsh Government for people who are liable to pay Council Tax and who live in Ceredigion. With the recent decision to raise Council Tax by 7%, residents on low incomes are being urged to find out if they are entitled to some help towards paying their Council Tax.

People can be eligible for the reduction if they are on a low income, working or unemployed, cannot work because of illness, retired or are caring for someone. The amount of the reduction depends on a person’s circumstances and how much Council Tax they need to pay.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd is the Cabinet member responsible for Financial Services. He said, “We made the difficult decision to raise Council Tax by 7% to reduce the amount of cuts we have to make to council services. The reality is that the council is getting less money from the Welsh Government at a time when costs and demand for services are rising.”

“We want to urge anyone who is on a low income to consider if they are eligible for Council Tax Reduction. Tax increases can add pressure onto people’s budgets, and although this increase is vital to keep quality services in Ceredigion, we want to make sure that anyone who is eligible for help gets it.”

For more information on eligibility and how to claim council tax reduction, email revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk or call 01970 633 252.

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7% council tax increase to protect education funding

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THE COUNCIL TAX in Ceredigion for 2019-2020 will increase by 7%. The increase was agreed by councillors to reduce the impact of cuts to the Council’s budget and, in particular, to protect education spending. The decision was made in a Council meeting on 21 February 2019.

2% of the 7% increase will be used to protect education spending. Schools budgets have been under severe stress after years of needing to make savings. Costs have increased yet again following the agreement of new teachers’ salary increases together with increased pension contributions. This extra 2% uplift will enable school budgets to be kept flat.

The council tax rate increase is set by three key components, the County Council’s tax, the precept of Town and Community Councils and the Police precept. Increases set by the Police and Town and Community Councils result in a combined increase of 7.56%.

Councillor Ellen ap Leader of the Council, said, “We had no option but to ask Council to increase Council Tax by 7% in order to reduce the impact of the cuts we have had to make across council budgets. A successful Ceredigion in the future needs well-funded and well run schools. We want to invest in the future of our children and our county.”

“The reality is that the council is getting less money from the Welsh Government at a time when costs and demand for services are rising. The uplift of teachers’ salaries and pensions has not been fully funded by Welsh Government to date. If council tax had not increased, we would have to make deeper cuts.”

In 2018-2019, the average Council Tax Band D property was £1,226.48. The increase means that the same property will pay £1,312.33 in 2019-2020. The council’s budget has been cut by £39m or 25% in the last seven years. The Council will still need to save another £6m in the coming financial year.

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Information management policies updated to improve security

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THREE key information management policies have been updated by Ceredigion County Council. The policies were updated because of new laws and the need make sure that they are effective in a changing technological environment.

The updated policies were approved by the council’s Cabinet in a meeting on 19 February 2019.

The three policies that have been reviewed are:

· Data Protection/GDPR Policy
· Information Security Policy
· Information and Records Management Policy

The Deputy Leader of Ceredigion County Council and Cabinet member responsible for Governance, Councillor Ray Quant MBE said, “The council needs to keep information and data to carry out the many service we provide. Because of this we have to make sure we’re up to date on data and information protections laws. This decision means that we have approved the hard work done to update the policies and make sure that they are fit for use.”

The policies are essential to manage digital and paper records of the council.

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