DESPITE coronavirus restrictions and a national lockdown in December, Welsh police forces breathalysed almost 5,000 motorists.
Of the 4,906 breath tests administered, 181 (3.7%) motorists failed, or failed to provide a specimen, and will lose their licences.
Officers also carried out 469 DrugWipe tests, with 274 (58.4%) failing, leading to 377 arrests.
Led by Dyfed-Powys Police in Wales, the national campaign saw all four forces take part throughout December to clamp down on drink and drug driving.
Strategic Lead for Roads Policing in Wales, ACC Mark Travis of South Wales Police said, “Drink and drug driving has devastating consequences for families and communities. The majority of drivers are responsible, so we thank those drivers who respect the law and the safety of others. The results of this campaign sadly show that many are not, their behaviour places others at risk and this is unacceptable.
“As a service we are committed to reducing fatal collisions. We will use our resources to target those members of the community who place others at risk and it really is not worth the risk. Let’s make our roads and communities as safe as we possibly can.”
Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Clark Jones-John said: “181 drivers in Wales had a Christmas and New Year to remember for all the wrong reasons – after being arrested by our officers for drink and drug driving.
“It is disappointing that some people are still prepared to take the risk and get behind the wheel whilst under the influence.”
Although the figures showed a reduction in the percentage of failures for three of Wales’s forces, Dyfed-Powys Police saw an increase of almost 5%.
The dangers of drink and drug driving are plain to see. Those that do take the risks clearly don’t think about the families of those people who have died at the hands of a driver who is affected by alcohol or drugs.
“Our officers are often the first ones on the scene of these types of collisions and some of the things they have witnessed are horrific. Nobody should ever have to witness that or have to suffer due to the irresponsible and unlawful actions of another.”
In the UK, there were 42,613 breath tests administered, with 3917 (9.2%) failed, or failed to provide. Of the 4,217 drug tests, 2813 (66.7%) were positive.
Supt Jones-John added: “Our officers work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and anyone who is considering driving whilst under the influence should know that we will be out and about waiting for them – please don’t think the rural nature of the region affords you protection because it doesn’t.
“We will continue to crack down on those who take this unnecessary risk and bring them before the courts.”
The Drug-drive arrests by force were as follows: Gwent Police 119, North Wales Police 82, Dyfed-Powys Police 78 and South Wales Police 98
Restrictions ease further with caution, says County Council
WITH restrictions easing further, both residents and visitors are reminded to enjoy Ceredigion safely and responsibly.
Wales will move into alert level 2 on Monday, 17 May, Welsh Government has announced.
The changes to the coronavirus restrictions, which will come into force from Monday 17 May include:
· Indoor hospitality can re-open – 6 people from up to 6 households (not including children under 11) can book
· All holiday accommodation can re-open fully
· Entertainment venues, including cinemas, indoor-play centres and areas, amusement arcades, and theatres can re-open. Cinemas, theatres concert halls and sports grounds can sell food and drink as long as it is consumed in a seated area for watching the performance
· Indoor visitor attractions, including museums and galleries can re-open
· Up to 30 people can take part in organised indoor activities and up to 50 people in organised outdoor activities. This includes wedding receptions and wakes.
International travel will resume from Monday 17 May but extra safeguards will be put in place for people returning from some countries to prevent coronavirus re-entering Wales. A traffic light system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red. This means people living in Wales will be able to travel to a small number of foreign destinations without the need to quarantine on their return. Mandatory quarantine for countries not on the green list remains in place.
From Monday 24 May, a paper-based vaccination status will be available for people in Wales who have had 2 doses of vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof.
However, the Welsh Government continues to advise people to only travel abroad for essential purposes.
Caution still needs to remain as the Coronavirus is still with us. Ceredigion residents and visitors must keep following the guidance for Covid-19 infection rates to remain low. Keeping a social distance, wearing a face covering and washing hands regularly are vital to keep our county safe.
Enjoy Ceredigion safely and responsibly.
Safe visiting opportunities in Care Homes being put into place
FOLLOWING Welsh Government’s announcement of moving to Alert Level 2 on Monday, 17 May, families of Council-run Care Homes are reassured that further enhanced visiting opportunities are currently being reviewed and progressed.
The Care Homes will be contacting the designated visitor of those residents who are currently cared for in bed to arrange indoor risk assessed safe visits from Monday 17 May onwards.
Visitors and residents will be offered options regarding their preferred location for the visit. This includes safe visiting options (for example a Pod) or outdoors (weather permitting). The length of time for visits will be extended.
As part of this important piece of work, questionnaires will be sent to families. This will ensure that residents have their voice and wishes centrally captured and used to support with planning and implementing any changes.
The safety of residents, staff and families will be central to all of the visiting opportunities that will be put in place.
All the Care Homes are looking forward to welcoming families back.
Cllr Paul Hinge elected Chairman of Ceredigion County Council
COUNCILLOR Paul Hinge has been elected as the Chairman of Ceredigion County Council for 2021-2022 during the Annual Meeting held virtually on Friday 14 May 2021.
This concludes Councillor Gareth Davies’ term of office, where he has steered the Council through an unprecedented time in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Following being elected as Chairman, Councillor Paul Hinge accepted the position and addressed the Council saying that becoming Chairman of the Council was a great honour.
Originally from Cardigan, Councillor Paul Hinge now lives in Bow Street and represents Tirymynach ward on Ceredigion County Council. He is also the Council’s Armed Forces Champion and has campaigned extensively for veteran rights over the years as a veteran himself.
Councillor Paul Hinge, Chairman of Ceredigion County Council, said: “As a child born in Cardigan a number of decades ago now, I could never have envisaged then that one day I would be taking one of the highest elected civic roles in my home county as I have done so here today; this is a very proud moment in my life. I would like to thank my fellow councillors for entrusting me with this role for the forthcoming municipal year. I would also like to give a special thank you to Councillor Gareth Davies for his unstinting work in such difficult times in this last year, it’s been an honour to have been his Vice Chairman. I look forward now to being Ceredigion County Council’s Chairman in the year ahead”.
Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, added: “I would like to congratulate Councillor Paul Hinge on his election as County Chairman and wish him well for the coming year. I would also like to thank Councillor Gareth Davies for steering the Council’s virtual meetings so smoothly and skilfully over the last year.”
Councillor Ifan Davies from Lledrod ward was elected as the Council’s Vice-Chairman. The Reverend Richard Lewis was appointed as the Chairman’s Chaplain for 2021-2022.
Questions for the Former Chairman
Councillor Gareth Davies, Llanbadarn Fawr Padarn ward, was the Chairman of Ceredigion County Council during 2020-2021. Here we look back at his year which has been very different in terms of all of the restrictions and adjustments.
What was it like to be the Chairman of Ceredigion County Council during the pandemic?
It was quite an unusual experience compared to previous years. Of course, nobody foresaw how the pandemic would affect our lives, nor how long it would last. We have all had to adjust the way we live and work. It was a bit of a disappointment that I did not have the opportunity to represent the county in any official events during my time. As an individual who has links with the Tregaron area, it was also sad to hear that the National Eisteddfod would be postponed. However, having said that, I’m extremely proud that I live in Ceredigion where the effects of the pandemic have been amongst the best in the United Kingdom.
What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was learning how to chair a virtual meeting. With over fifty people in attendance, it was not possible to see everyone on the call at the same time. Everyone else had to learn as well, and, as a result, the meetings took a litter longer than usual. I hope that the Council members feel that I have been a fair Chairman and that everyone had the opportunity to speak if they wished to. Everyone is coping well with the system by now.
What was the best thing about your experience?
I consider myself very privileged, and I was delighted that the elected members of Ceredigion County Council gave me the opportunity and trusted me to be Chairman. The year did not turn out as I had expected. But the safety and the health of Ceredigion’s residents is far more important than anything else.
What is your message for the new Chairman?
I very much hope that the new Chairman will have the opportunity to do the role justice, and I wish him well for the coming year.
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