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Hotels educated on warning signs of child sexual exploitation

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HOTELS, guest houses and B&B staff in Ceredigion have been made aware of the signs of child sexual exploitation as Dyfed-Powys Police clamp down on those who prey on vulnerable youngsters.

PCSOs Caryl Griffiths and Jeff Kedward visited eight establishments in Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn during the force day of action on Tuesday (Oct 10) urging staff to be vigilant and encouraging them to report any concerns.

They were asked to look out for signs such as young people booking into hotel rooms with older adults who do not appear to be family members, a lot of adults coming and going to one room, or being bought alcohol by older people.

Chid sexual exploitation – or CSE – is a form of sexual, emotional and physical abuse of children, and involves a person under 18 being coerced into sexual activities by one or more adults who have deliberately targeted their youth and inexperience to exercise power over them.

Guest houses and B&Bs are sometimes used as locations to meet, groom and abuse children and young people as perpetrators think they can go unnoticed. Perpetrators might pay by cash to avoid leaving a credit card trail, book under one name but check in under another, or have visitors who ask for a room number but don’t know the name of the guest.

Ceredigion BCU commander Robyn Mason said: “It is vitally important that we gain greater knowledge and understanding of child sexual exploitation in order to effectively target activity at local, regional and national level.

“Police officers are being actively trained to recognise the early signs that can identify children at risk, and we are actively encouraging hotel, B&B and guest house staff to be aware of these signs. We all have a role to play in ensuring that children have a safe environment to grow up in.

“Evidence shows that B&Bs and hotels are sometimes used as locations to meet, groom and abuse children and young people, so it’s not just a good idea for people working in this industry to spot the signs of CSE, it’s their responsibility.

“Exploited children are almost always too frightened or ashamed to ask for help themselves, and receptionists, managers and housekeepers are in a unique position to notice when someone or something seems suspicious or might not be quite right with young guests.

“By passing their concerns on to the police they could potentially save a child from the nightmare of CSE.

“We have been visiting these locations, providing advice and guidance to staff members by making them aware of how to spot the signs of CSE.”

Hotel staff who have concerns for the welfare of a young guest are advised to raise concerns immediately with their manager or senior staff, and inform Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101.

Management or staff who would like more information about the signs of CSE and what they should look out for can contact their local Neighbourhood Policing Team for more information.

 

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A level results still high in Ceredigion

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THE ‘A’ level examination results published today by the WJEC (15 August) show that high standards are being achieved in Ceredigion schools once again. 97.9% of entries for WJEC examinations were graded A* to E, with 27.9% of the entries achieving the top ’A’ grades.

Ceredigion pupils continue to outperform the Welsh average. More pupils in Ceredigion achieve the top ’A’ grades and A* to E grades. The below table shows a comparison with average Welsh figures. These don’t include Welsh Baccalaureate results and those from examination bodies other than WJEC.

Wales 2019             Ceredigion 2019

Grade A* – A           27.92%                    27.0%

Grade A* – B           56.0%                      n/a

Grade A* – C          77.5%                        n/a

Grade A* – E          97.9%                       97.6%

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services. She said, “I would like to extend my warmest congratulations once again to Ceredigion’s sixth form students for their successes in this year’s A Level and AS examinations.

These results are the culmination of a long journey through school life which has seen them nurture and develop the academic and interpersonal skills that will enable them to move confidently into higher education, training or employment in fields of their choice. I wish them good luck for the future and would like to sincerely thank all who have contributed to their school journey in any way.”

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MP Ben Lake calls for reform of police funding

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HAVING recently shadowed Dyfed Powys Police officers in Aberystwyth, the Ceredigion MP has again urged the UK Government to review the police funding formula for rural areas.

Mr Lake visited Aberystwyth police station as part of the #GiveADayToPolicing campaign, a scheme for Members of Parliament to better understand the challenges currently facing police forces across the UK.

During his visit Mr Lake had the opportunity to experience a variety of aspects of local policing – from spending time with the neighbourhood policing team, meeting officers from different departments, and discussing policing challenges with front-line police officers.

Mr Lake has challenged the UK Government on several occasions to reform the formula for police funding – highlighting the need for the funding formula to take into consideration the seasonal pressures on forces, particularly the significant increase to the population of coastal areas during the summer months.

Mr Lake said: “I am very grateful to the officers of Aberystwyth police station for their welcome, and for taking the time to speak with me. I now have a better understanding of the challenges our police officers face, as well as a deeper level of respect and admiration of their work and commitment to public safety.

“As I have previously stated, we cannot expect a one size fits all approach to work effectively across the whole of the UK, and as such, it is imperative that the criteria used to allocate the Home Office police grant are revised so that they reflect the increased demands and unique challenges facing rural forces in areas such as Ceredigion, especially during summer months.”

Mr Lake added: “It is widely acknowledged that Welsh police forces have suffered under the present funding formula, and so it is high time that the UK Government either amends the formula accordingly, or devolves the responsibility for policing to the Welsh Government so that they may do so themselves.”

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New waste trial launched in Aberystwyth

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A NEW trial has been launched in Aberystwyth as part of the Caru Aber campaign, to help keep the town centre clean on waste collection days.

Heavy duty sacks will be placed on Aberystwyth streets on Monday afternoons before the black bag collection on Tuesdays in the following streets; Portland Street, Portland Road, Queen Street, Corporation Street, Eastgate Street, New Street and Cambrian Place.

Black bags should be put in the sacks by 8am on Tuesday mornings for collection. The intention is that the sacks contain the waste until it is collected. The sacks will be retrieved after the waste has been collected to avoid clutter and obstruction on the streets.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “We see this trial as a practical and relatively cost effective way of responding to long standing issues relating to domestic waste presentation in Aberystwyth town centre. The sacks will also provide a visible reminder to residents in the town centre on what days to present their black bags.

“The trial forms part of the Caru Aber campaign, and the wider Caru Ceredigion campaign, where the council looks to work with local communities to address issues which are of concern or are important to them.

“This innovative approach is another example of positive proactive action the council is taking. We hope that the residents of the town centre will play their part by making good use of the sacks as this will be the critical factor in measuring the success of the scheme.”

Clean recycling and food waste should continue to be presented on a weekly basis in the containers that the council already provides through clear bags and food caddies.

Ensuring that the right waste is presented in the right way and on the right day will help to make sure that the town’s streets are kept clean and that the waste is contained, managed and treated in the most cost effective and environmentally friendly way as possible.

The sacks were first used in readiness for waste collections on Tuesday 6 August 2019. The initial feedback is positive as they have worked to contain the waste on the streets, which were noticeably cleaner.

This latest initiative is developing on feedback and experience from two other trials undertaken. The success of the trial will be monitored on an ongoing basis and reviewed to reflect the experience which will include looking at ways of engaging all residents.

For more information about the new scheme, please contact the Customer Services Contact Centre on 01545 570 881 or by e-mail on clic@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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