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Hotels educated on warning signs of child sexual exploitation

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HOTELS, guest houses and B&B staff in Ceredigion have been made aware of the signs of child sexual exploitation as Dyfed-Powys Police clamp down on those who prey on vulnerable youngsters.

PCSOs Caryl Griffiths and Jeff Kedward visited eight establishments in Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn during the force day of action on Tuesday (Oct 10) urging staff to be vigilant and encouraging them to report any concerns.

They were asked to look out for signs such as young people booking into hotel rooms with older adults who do not appear to be family members, a lot of adults coming and going to one room, or being bought alcohol by older people.

Chid sexual exploitation – or CSE – is a form of sexual, emotional and physical abuse of children, and involves a person under 18 being coerced into sexual activities by one or more adults who have deliberately targeted their youth and inexperience to exercise power over them.

Guest houses and B&Bs are sometimes used as locations to meet, groom and abuse children and young people as perpetrators think they can go unnoticed. Perpetrators might pay by cash to avoid leaving a credit card trail, book under one name but check in under another, or have visitors who ask for a room number but don’t know the name of the guest.

Ceredigion BCU commander Robyn Mason said: “It is vitally important that we gain greater knowledge and understanding of child sexual exploitation in order to effectively target activity at local, regional and national level.

“Police officers are being actively trained to recognise the early signs that can identify children at risk, and we are actively encouraging hotel, B&B and guest house staff to be aware of these signs. We all have a role to play in ensuring that children have a safe environment to grow up in.

“Evidence shows that B&Bs and hotels are sometimes used as locations to meet, groom and abuse children and young people, so it’s not just a good idea for people working in this industry to spot the signs of CSE, it’s their responsibility.

“Exploited children are almost always too frightened or ashamed to ask for help themselves, and receptionists, managers and housekeepers are in a unique position to notice when someone or something seems suspicious or might not be quite right with young guests.

“By passing their concerns on to the police they could potentially save a child from the nightmare of CSE.

“We have been visiting these locations, providing advice and guidance to staff members by making them aware of how to spot the signs of CSE.”

Hotel staff who have concerns for the welfare of a young guest are advised to raise concerns immediately with their manager or senior staff, and inform Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101.

Management or staff who would like more information about the signs of CSE and what they should look out for can contact their local Neighbourhood Policing Team for more information.

 

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Ysgol Bro Pedr raise funds for life saving machine

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PUPILS at Ysgol Bro Pedr have raised enough money to buy a defibrillator machine for the school.

The idea came after 15 Year 11 pupils achieved their Level 3 Emergency First Aid Qualification with Ceredigion Youth Service. Pupils felt that it was incredibly important that they and others at the school had the skills, knowledge and equipment to use in an emergency.

Mrs Caryl Jones and pupils raised an outstanding £1,150 through organising a bake sale at the school on 28 March 2019. The school extends their thanks to Lampeter businesses ‘Oh My Cod’ and ‘Y Becws’ for their kind contribution towards the sale.

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker said: “Although first aid is not a mandatory part of the school curriculum in Wales, young people at Ysgol Bro Pedr felt that it should be something that all pupils knew about. This would help them to know what to do in an emergency, whether that be in the school or out in the community. Pupils worked hard to achieve their First Aid qualification which covered aspect such as CPR, casualty management and the use of a defibrillator.”

The defibrillator machine will be placed in the school reception.

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It’s not too late: Ceredigion residents still have time to register to vote

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“CEREDIGION residents still have time to register to vote in the General Election on 12 December,” said the council’s Chief Executive and Acting Returning Officer, Eifion Evans.

Residents still have time to register to vote and to arrange postal or proxy votes if they want to do so. The deadline to register to vote is midnight on November 26. The deadline to register for a postal vote is 5pm on November 26 and the deadline to register for a proxy vote is 5pm on December 4.

Mr Evans continued, “Some residents may want to register for postal vote or a proxy vote. This could help people avoid possible wintry conditions of a December election, or young people who have moved out of county to study but still want to vote in Ceredigion.”

Residents can register to vote by using this link: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or by calling the council’s Electoral Services Team on 01545 570 881.

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£1 billion deal set to solve poor mobile coverage

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BEN LAKE MP has worked with cross-party MPs in recent months on a campaign calling for a Shared Rural Network to extend mobile rural coverage to hard-to-reach areas.

On Friday, 25 October, a £1bn plan between the UK’s four main mobile phone companies and the UK Government was unveiled with the aim of banishing these signal dead zones. The proposed deal – which includes EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – promises to get 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025.

The new plans for all operators to share phone masts to improve UK coverage is a world first. It will mean EE, O2, Three and Vodafone will invest £530 million in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share and which any mobile user can access, and which would be supported by £500 million investment from the UK Government.

72 cross party MPs, including Ben Lake, wrote to the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP asking him to support a Shared Rural Network which would significantly improve rural coverage and enhance economic, educational and leisure opportunities in rural areas.

Mr Lake said “This is fantastic news. It will make a huge difference to so many people in my constituency where, in some areas, there is no mobile coverage at all. It will put an end to the frustration felt by thousands of people who currently feel cut off and mean people will get good mobile signal on the go wherever they live, work or travel and it will have a big impact on the local economy.

“I was glad to have the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of State to press the case for allowing newly constructed Home Office masts to be utilised as part of this new programme, something that would expedite progress in areas such as Ceredigion.”

The current Digital Secretary, Nicky Morgan said “We are determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity. We are closing in on a deal with the mobile network operators so those living in rural areas will be able to get the fast and reliable mobile coverage they need and deserve. Brokering an agreement for mast sharing between networks alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure will mean people get good 4G signal no matter where they are or which provider they’re with.”

A final agreement between UK Government and the mobile industry is expected early next year.

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