RESIDENTS of Ceredigion are being given guidance on how to ‘make the right call’ when contacting the police.
Dyfed-Powys Police has launched its Make the Right Call campaign, to make it easier for members of the public to know when and how to contact the police, and who to contact when reporting matters that are not for police, such as stray dogs, fly-tipping and parking problems.
The campaign also aims to make sure all members of the public are aware of the 101 non-emergency number and how to use it correctly.
To help people decide if they need to call 101 or another organisation, such as the council or Natural Resources Wales, a new Contact Us has been added to the Dyfed-Powys Police website. It holds icons which once clicked on give information on who best to contact about that issue, as well as contact numbers, online reporting forms and links to partner websites or information pages.
It’s hoped the move will not only improve the service people receive when they call 101 but also ease the pressure on the Force Communication Centre, where all emergency and non-emergency calls are taken. A team of call handlers working twenty-four-seven receives over 1,000 calls a day. Around a third of all calls are not actually for police to deal with.
Chief Inspector Nicky Carter, Force Communication Centre Manager, said: “While we encourage the reporting of crime and anti-social behaviour in order to help us keep our communities safe, we frequently receive a high number of calls that are simply not a police matter.
“Make the Right Call is about encouraging people to stop and think about where best to report their non-emergency issues to before calling 101 and also making sure that the people who really need our help know how and when to contact us via 101.”
THE OFFICIAL POLICE ADVICE
To make the right call consider the following:
We are here 24/7: if you don’t need urgent assistance or have a general enquiry dial 101, but in an emergency always dial 999. You can also report non-emergency incidents by emailing email@example.com or via the online reporting form on our website (ADD LINK ONCE LIVE). If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.
In an emergency – dial 999
The 999 number is a 24-hour service and should only be used in situations where there is:
Danger to life
Use, or immediate threat of use, of violence
A crime in progress
Serious injury to a person
An offender that has been disturbed at the scene
A need for immediate police attendance such as when a crime is about to be committed.
Non-emergencies – dial 101
The 101 number should be used to report a policing issue that is less than urgent and does not require an emergency response. For example, if:
Your property has been damaged
You suspect drug use or dealing in your neighbourhood
You wish to give police information about crime in your area
You wish to make a general enquiry.
Council tax reduction supports people on low incomes
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01970 633 252.
7% council tax increase to protect education funding
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.
Information management policies updated to improve security
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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