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.
Ceredigion lifesavers go the extra mile during lockdown
Loyal blood donors in Ceredigion have responded to a request from the Welsh
Blood Service to ‘donate differently’ by rolling up their sleeves to make a
lifesaving donation at one of the Service’s new regional hubs.
Across Wales, of the 6,808 individuals that visited a Welsh Blood Service donation
session in May 63% of donors attended a clinic that was not their usual donation
In Ceredigion, 293 donors came forward to give blood in May, with 34 attending a
donation session for the very first time.
Following a series of Covid-19 related venue cancellations and social distancing
restrictions, the Welsh Blood Service was unable to host donation sessions at the thirty
community venues it would typically visit across Wales each week.
The Service introduced a new collections schedule at the beginning of April which saw
collections taken from five regional donation hubs at different locations in Wales each
week. Donors were asked to travel to donate at their nearest hub.
Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “When it became clear we
couldn’t continue with business as usual, we knew we’d have to ask donors to donate
differently. Our regional donation hubs have replaced our usual local collections
programme and the response from donors has been remarkable.
“98.3% of the appointments we’ve made available since lockdown have been taken
and many of these appointments have been taken by donors who have been prepared
to go even further out of their way than they usually would just to make a potentially
The Service has also observed a sharp rise in the number of new donors coming
forward to donate.
Mr Prosser continued: “In May 2019, around 11% of those that attended our donation
sessions were new donors. This May, around 19% of our attendance has been people
who had never given before.
“We’ve also see a surge in the number of donors who haven’t given in years returning
to our sessions to help us boost stocks. It’s been amazing and we’re hugely grateful.”
Blood stocks in Wales have remained healthy throughout the pandemic as the reduced
collections activity has mirrored a reduction in the volume of blood used by hospitals.
However, the Service is urging donors to continue to attend their local sessions as and
when lockdown restrictions are lifted.
“Blood stocks are currently very healthy thanks to the commitment of new and existing
donors but we need people to keep giving blood to ensure we can continue to meet
hospital demand in the coming months. Travel to donate is considered essential travel
and anyone who is fit, well and eligible to donate can book an appointment through the
Porth Cymorth Cynnar supporting residents in Ceredigion
During this challenging period, Porth Cymorth Cynnar has established a virtual platform to ensure that we are able to keep in touch with vulnerable residents across Ceredigion.
Due to the restrictions introduced to safeguard our communities against COVID-19, many residents are not able to access their usual provision or support such as parent groups or GP Referral Exercise Classes. Instead, we are ensuring that all residents whom are known to our services, and others, are kept in touch with, through regular welfare calls, should they wish.
Around 2000 residents from young people to families to carers, who may require or benefit from regular contact whilst their service is not operating in its usual form, will receive communication from our staff.
To date, almost 2000 welfare calls have been made, and have been well received by people across Ceredigion. Residents have said that it is great that someone is keeping in touch with them, to give them an opportunity to have a weekly phone call and someone to talk to.
Mrs Jones* (name changed for anonymity) who is 92 and lives alone, is used to receiving regular visits from Ceredigion’s mobile library was identified as benefiting from a weekly phone call, to check how she was doing, now that her usual library service would not be visiting for a while. Porth Cymorth Cynnar aimed to get in touch with Mrs Jones, but did not have a contact number. After tracking down a contact number through the local directory, a member of the Porth y Gymuned team was able to make contact. Luckily Mrs Jones has the support of family and neighbours to collect groceries, but nonetheless was extremely grateful to have someone to talk to, and to check that she is OK. A weekly phone check in has been organised with Mrs Jones, to ensure that she is doing well and to organise if she is in need of anything.
If you, or anyone you know would benefit from the Keeping in Touch Service, please get in touch with our Customer Services team on 01545 570881 or email@example.com who will triage your query to Porth Cymorth Cynnar.
Porth Cymorth Cynnar are also regularly updating resource lists which are available on the Ceredigion County Council website here: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/coronavirus
The latest on plastic free Ceredigion
At its meeting held on 17 March, the Council’s Cabinet received an activity update from the Plastic Free Ceredigion Task and Finish Group, which was set up after full Council approved a motion on 22 February 2018.
Full Council approved the ‘Plastic Free campaigns throughout the County, including Plastic Free Aberporth and Plastic Free Aberystwyth’ motion to ensure that the Council helps to reduce the amount of single use plastics used in our day to day operations.
The motion involved a number of factors including; reducing single-use plastics within Council facilities and offices and encouraging local businesses, organisations, schools and communities to move away from single-use plastics and use sustainable alternatives. Promoting the use of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics at all Council supported events, supporting beach cleans and any other events which aim to raise awareness of the issues of single-use plastics.
Since 22 February 2018, the Council have removed 5 single-use plastic that were used across the local authority, implemented projects in conjunction with NRW with local primary schools, worked closely with communities throughout Ceredigion and commenced the provision of Water bottle re-fills on request to all visitors to our public facing buildings.
In January 2020, the Schools Service were successful in bidding for funding from the Circular Economy Capital Fund, which allows for the purchasing of milk dispensers which will remove the need for the provision of plastic milk bottles and straws by 1,979 pupils at Foundation and Key Stage 2. This is equivalent to a reduction of 376,010 plastic milk bottles per school year.
Councillor Alun Williams, Member Champion for Sustainability said, “These are initiatives which, together, make a real difference to the amount of single-use plastics going into the waste stream from Council activities. Whilst it’s important that everyone seeks to minimise their use of single-use plastics, it’s particularly important that large organisations like councils take these kinds of actions because they can have a wider effect which, in turn, can lead to industry changing to more sustainable practices. Ceredigion Council is trying to lead the way in showing what’s possible within an organisation.”
This supports one of the Council’s corporate priority of Promoting Environmental and Community Resilience.
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