BOBBIES with local knowledge making local decisions – they’re crucial to helping residents of rural Wales feel safe. High-level new research by university specialists reveals that communities want stronger neighbourhood bonds with the police. Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon, who funds the work known as Rural Connect, said: “Local policing is vital. I want offi cers to know – and be known – in their communities. That way we build trust and confi dence.
This research is an important reminder of some old lessons. Local people say the small stuff matters. We must tackle the crime and antisocial behaviour that doesn’t make headlines but does make their lives miserable. Senior offi cers must encourage the eff ort needed to build grassroots relationships; they must empower local offi cers to make judgments. Clear communication between the police and public is vital but it takes time, skill and eff ort. Rural Connect contains strong messages from the public and the police. It’s an important piece of research that will help us improve how we police rural communities.”
Dyfed-Powys has unique challenges due to its rural nature; it’s the biggest police force area in England and Wales, covering more than half the landmass of the principality, and has a thinly spread small population of around 520,000. In light of the report, Mr Salmon’s actions will include exploring: • Better mobility for local offi cers, including cycles and mopeds;
• More Special Constables with specialist local or professional knowledge;
• A Say Hello! campaign encouraging offi cers and public to speak more often.
• Local initiatives to replace ineff ective PACT meetings;
• More public access to mediation. He is already considering how schools work can become the responsibility of local offi cers. He wants a better 101 system, more investment in police IT, a review of police middle management and to review provision of the Bobby Van service : ‘Its withdrawal was a mistake’.
The research was led by the Universities’ Police Science Institute (UPSI) based at Cardiff University and used the expertise of Aberystwyth University’s Department of Law and Criminology. It included detailed discussions with members of the public, police offi cers and police staff . The sessions were run by UPSI, the Commissioner’s Offi ce and Dyfed-Powys Police. The key question was: “How can the police best connect with people living in rural communities?” Mr Salmon said: “The voices in this research deserve to be heard. They highlight key areas that we need to address. Some of these areas require small tweaks; others need more fundamental work. I will explore them all in more detail with the Chief Constable.” The Rural Connect report is published today and concludes that, although excellent work is being done by police communities across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, much still needs to be done. It recommends that neighbourhood police offi cers and volunteers should be fully valued, that local knowledge should be developed and retained, that local decision making should be encouraged and that the police should connect more with local people.
Mr Salmon said: “This research is already having an impact; it’s being woven into the force’s strategy for rural policing which is being developed. I want the police to be innovative and outward-thinking in working with local people. Already I’ve removed their targets, have brought a new focus to community policing, have created 30 new police offi cer posts and IT will bring 100,000 more hours on the beat this year. Police offi cers are using my grants to help local organisations thrive, they’re embracing innovations such as Twitter and I regularly witness strong relationships between offi cers, PCSOs and local people. But there’s a long way to go. The public have given me more ideas about what they want, I’ll be working hard with the Chief Constable to drive improvements and I’m already starting to build on the Rural Connect research.”
Sarah Tucker, a research associate at UPSI, said: “Working together with Dyfed Powys staff and offi cers we were able to listen to and understand the issues that aff ect them and their communities, creating an evidence base to inform future decision making.” Rural Connect report author Kate Williams, senior lecturer in criminology at Aberystwyth University and deputy director of the Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice, said: “Working in partnership with Dyfed-Powys staff we were able to learn that both the police and the people in rural communities cherished a positive working relationship. With decisionmaking based on an understanding of local needs, the trust between police and rural communities would build and the connection would strengthen.” Other research just published on behalf of Mr Salmon includes an UPSI study into research literature on rural policing.
Time given to develop Parc Natur Penglais
VOLUNTEERS, including students, have given around 500 hours of their time to develop Parc Natur Penglais.
Along with support from Ceredigion County Council, the Group have built around 100 steps in 5 different places which has made the park a great place to walk, play and enjoy around a number of safe paths.
Councillor Mark Strong said: “Knowing that we have the support of the local community makes such a difference to peoples’ enthusiasm and having the grant from Aberystwyth Town Council, Cambrian News and Tesco made it possible. Volunteers can make a relatively small sum of money go long way.”
RSPCA aim for Christmas number one
MUSIC fans across Wales can help the RSPCA secure the Christmas number one slot, and provide vital support for animals in need across the country.
The animal welfare charity has thrown its hat into the ring to claim the festive chart accolade – as up-and-coming singer Lucy Ellie covers Simply Red’s hit song ’Stars’ in aid of the RSPCA.
‘Stars’ is the soundtrack to the charity’s ‘Kindness at Christmas’ video, which has already gone viral with over two million views online across a variety of platforms.
The tear-jerking video tells the story of Woody the Christmas toy pup who who is thrown out with the rubbish before being rescued and taken in for care by the RSPCA.
Proceeds from the single are being donated to the RSPCA to help in their work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming thousands of animals every year.
RSPCA Cymru is again bracing itself for a busy festive period. In December 2016 and January 2017 alone, in Wales, 5,932 incidents were reported to the RSPCA – with 141 of these on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Lucy Ellie Cooper, who works at the charity, said: “This was a lovely opportunity for me to combine my two loves – animals and music.
“Outside of my job at the RSPCA I am a country music singer and songwriter, so when the chance came up to record such a fantastic and well-known song for the charity’s Christmas video, I jumped at it. I really hope people will take Woody’s story into their hearts and support the RSPCA this winter.”
You can help the RSPCA rescue, rehabilitate and re-home animals in desperate need of care, and support the charity’s ‘kindness’ campaign online
Charity games raise over £2000
NOT all heroes wear capes and Tesco Aberystwyth’s very own Community Champion, Natasha Worrall has proven this raising a staggering £2,096.27 for local and national charities.
Natasha, the brainchild behind the charity football events, came up with the idea first off by challenging Tesco’s neighbours, Marks and Spencer’s, to a football match, she quickly set her powers to work and contacted Aberystwyth Football club who were more than happy to help and allowed use of the pitch.
The Big Day arrived, there was a lot of tension and passion on the pitch that night, it was more than just about winning a match it was the status, the pride and most of all bringing people together to raise money for three great causes; Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Mind. Hundreds of supporters braved the cold October evening to support the players and Tesco stole the show with a 7-1 victory and an amazing £607 was raised.
Natasha now had a taste of success under her cape and wanted to really get this event of the ground and challenged supermarket rivals, Morrisons to a match! The response for Tesco vs Morrisons was just what Natasha wanted and a November date was set.
Tesco now had experience in their boots and both teams had everything to play for. Victory once again went to Tesco who pipped Morrisons at the post and clawed back to a 5-4 victory raising a further £648.15 for Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Clic Sargent.
In true football fashion Natasha wanted a hat trick but could Team Tesco achieve this? Last Sunday (Dec 3) seemed the perfect opportunity and the opponents who were up for the challenge came from Bronglais Hospital and their chosen charity Pila Pala, Llwyn yr Eos. What a match! And what great team to take victory, Hywel Dda 2 – Tesco – 0. A rematch could certainly be on the cards especially as they raised the biggest amount ever of £841.12.
Behind every success there is always great team and working with Natasha and the players a number of local heroes who helped, Ruth’s kitchen provided heroic meals for all the players for a £1 donation, Aberystwyth women’s Team loaned their footballs, the Referees, linesmen, stewards, security, first aiders and ball boys and girls who all donated their time free of charge.
Team Tesco are looking for more opponents to play and raise even more money for local charities, if you are interested please call into Tesco store and see Natasha.
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