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Police helicopter is ‘slow’ to reach incidents

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A REPORT has claimed that a police helicopter takes almost an hour to respond to incidents in the Dyfed-Powys area.

Dyfed-Powys Police pay £891,000 for air support from bases in north and south east Wales, as well as bases in England. A base in Carmarthenshire was shut down due to cuts by the National Police Air Service in January 2016.

The response time – over 50 minutes on average – is the second worst in both Wales and England.

However, a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson has said that the helicopter service was a ‘valuable asset’. With 349 hours of air support, the force has paid £2,553 for every hour of flights over the last year.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “The HMICFRS report on the provision of police air support clearly demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police has benefited financially from the efficiencies of being a partner in this national service.

“There is a reduction in the cost of police air support available across the Dyfed-Powys Police area alongside the ability to access a 24/7 service, a capability not available to us prior to the new arrangements. It is important to note that the deployment of resources is now consistently based on an agreed threat, risk and harm assessment.

“As a result of this new assessment criteria the use of the helicopter has reduced within the Dyfed-Powys area.

“As an NPAS strategic board member I ensure that rural police forces such as Dyfed-Powys are not forgotten and during my time on the board we have seen significant financial savings being realised for Dyfed-Powys Police.

“The board has also been assured that the new fixed wing capability will be distributed more widely than initially proposed and a fixed wing asset will be available in Wales in due course to compliment the helicopter.”

A spokesperson for the police force added:  “Dyfed-Powys Police is provided with an air support service from NPAS as part of the national collaboration, before which we had our own helicopter which was undoubtedly a more limited capability.

“The effectiveness of the service now provided by NPAS is regularly reviewed by senior leaders from Dyfed-Powys Police in conjunction with representatives from NPAS and the outcomes from these reviews are used to influence the service provided by NPAS.

“This is a valuable operational resource for us as a rural area, and we will continue to work with NPAS colleagues to get the best service for our communities using this valuable asset when circumstances are appropriate, and this will include seeking greater coverage from future developments.”

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A digital future for Ceredigion

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STARTING from today (Dec 15), we are excited to announce that The Ceredigion Herald will be a digital only publication.

Our website and social media pages have always been an important outlet for delivering news to Ceredigion, and with the re-launch of Herald Radio this year, and the launch of our news channel Herald News 24 next year, the methods in which we deliver news to Ceredigion is only going from strength to strength.

Put simply, what this means for our readers is more content, delivered quicker, and with all the benefits that only an online platform can provide – such as picture galleries and video content.

Since the first edition, The Ceredigion Herald has gained a reputation for tackling the tough stories which others ignored, reporting on local news and events, and being a voice for the communities across Ceredigion.

This is not changing.

Over the coming weeks and months we will be rolling out new additions to the website, launching our online news channel, and much more.

We hope you look forward to the evolution as much as we are, and if you have any comments, feedback or ideas, we’d love to hear them.

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FUW holds open meeting to discuss bank closures

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​IN LIGHT of the announced NatWest bank closures in Ceredigion, affecting the Lampeter and Cardigan branches, the Farmers’ Union of Wales is holding open meetings with Plaid Cymru to discuss a way forward with local MP Ben Lake and AM Elin Jones.

The meetings will take place on Thursday ​(​Dec 21​)​ at Lampeter Rugby Club and Thursday, January 18 at the Guildhall, Cardigan. Both meetings will commence at 7.30pm and are open to all.

Speaking ahead of the meetings, ​​FUW Ceredigion CEO Mared Jones said: “The closure of those banks will have a detrimental effect​ on​ our local towns, as they serve not only villages close by but many of the neighbourhoods in surrounding areas, as well as providing employment to local people.

“We are therefore holding two open meetings with our local elected representatives to discuss a way forward and I hope many of you will be able to join us.”

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Farmers warned of targeted fraud attacks

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​DYFED-POWYS POLICE is warning the farming community to be extremely wary of any suspicious calls, texts or emails as a scam specifically targeting the agricultural sector has been identified.

During December farmers start to receive payments through the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy).

Information about the payments, including the recipients’ names and the amount paid, is publically available, meaning criminals are able to directly target victims making their approaches appear more convincing.

The scam communications will typically claim that fraud has been detected on the farmer’s bank account and that urgent action is required to safeguard funds.

The victim is then persuaded to divulge personal or financial information, or even to transfer money directly into a so-called ‘safe account’.

With some grants worth thousands of pounds, in past years fraudsters have stolen significant amounts of money from their victims.

Paul Callard, Financial Crime Team, Dyfed Powys Police said: “If you receive such a call or message, hang up the phone and do not reply directly. Instead, wait five minutes and ring your bank to alert them to the scam, using a phone number that you trust – such as the one from the official website.”

Be wary of:
• Any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from your bank, the police, a Government body or other organisation asking for personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money.
• Cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call them back. Fraudsters can keep your phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.
• Any request to check that the number showing on your telephone display matches an organisation’s registered telephone number. The display cannot be trusted, as the number showing can be altered by the caller.

Remember:
• You will never be asked for your 4 digit PIN or your online banking password, or for you to transfer money to a new account for “fraud reasons”.
• If you receive a suspicious call, hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line, or where possible use a different phone line, then call your bank or card issuer on their advertised number to report the fraud.

Never disclose your:
• Four digit card PIN to anyone, including the bank or police.
• Your password or online banking codes.
• Personal details unless you are certain you know who you are talking to. People are not always who they say they are.

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