IT will certainly be a change to life on the beat, but Dyfed-Powys Police’s first ever rural crime team is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
Coming from farming backgrounds with a knowledge of the issues and concerns these communities face, and undergoing enhanced training with North Wales Police’s well-established rural crime team, puts PC Esther Davies and PCSO Caryl Griffiths in good stead for the role.
From this week on, the pair will cover the Ceredigion division, from Crymych to Machynlleth, dealing with issues ranging from sheep worrying and livestock theft, to offering crime prevention advice and support. They will also work closely with partner agencies including the National Farmers’ Union, the Farmer’s Union of Wales and the Welsh Government.
The new role has come as a direct result of the force’s rural crime strategy, which committed to identifying named points of contact for rural crime matters, and developing the specialist rural skills and knowledge of its officers.
The team will benefit from an attachment to North Wales Police for a week of intense training in the first partnership of its kind between the two forces. Rural Crime Team Manager Rob Taylor and his team will pass on the expertise gained in the five years since the team was established, and the forces hope to continue to work together to tackle rural issues and cross border criminality.
Speaking about her new role, PCSO Griffiths said: “This post will be challenging, but extremely rewarding.
“I appreciate the importance of communication with rural and agricultural communities. It is vital to provide a familiar point of contact to the public, and also to seek their views on how we can serve their needs.
“With this in mind, I want to restore confidence in the rural communities so people can feel safe and be safe. I have mentioned the rural crime team to people while I’ve been out in the community and they are very supportive – they think it is definitely needed.”
PC Davies added that their first hand experiences of the farming environment will help them get to grips with the new role.
“Personally, being from a rural background and growing up in that environment means I know how the community works, as well as the issues and concerns the farming community has,” she said.
“It will be interesting to see how North Wales Police do it. Hopefully we will gain a lot of tips and ideas from them, which we can bring down to Dyfed-Powys.
“It’s an exciting opportunity because it is completely new for the force and we can make it our own with guidance. We will have to use our own initiative in establishing the best way for the role to move forward, which will be a good challenge.”
The pair will spend a week attached to North Wales Police, where they will learn how their counterparts work. They will receive classroom training on issues specific to the rural community, as well as getting the chance to shadow a PC and PCSO as they carry out their work.
And when they return to Dyfed-Powys Police, their first aim is to get out and about in the community attending as many events as possible to spread the word about their work.
“PCSO Griffiths said: “We want to be visible as well as proactive, so we will be showing our faces and making sure people know that we are here to support them.”
Robyn Mason, Dyfed-Powys Police’s lead for rural crime, said: “Tackling rural crime is a priority for Dyfed-Powys, and the only way to fully get to grips with these issues is to have officers and staff dedicated to the cause.
“This will be the first of four rural crime teams launched across our divisions, and it is a very exciting opportunity for the force.
“We look forward to seeing the skills and knowledge Esther and Caryl bring back from North Wales Police, and would like to thank Rob Taylor and his team for allowing us to work together in this new partnership.”
North Wales Rural Crime Team manager, Rob Taylor, said: “We have had a dedicated Rural Team in North Wales since September 2013 and although small, this team has been very impactive and has developed close links with our farming and rural communities.
“The attachment of these officers from Ceredigion will be an asset to both forces, which will allow us to share our rural policing knowledge and to tackle cross border criminality in Wales.
“Both officers are from farming backgrounds and they already have a good grounding of rural issues and there policing needs, so we have a lot to learn from them too.”
Police call for vigilance to report illegal raves
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.
Wheelchair-bound man jailed for child sex offences
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.
Royals set to visit Ceredigion during summer visit
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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