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Council responds on language call

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IN RESPONSE to the news that Anglesey Council has confirmed its intention to make the Welsh language its language of administration, members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith in Ceredigion have called on the council there to follow the example.

Talat Chaudhri, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith in Ceredigion said: “We have been calling on Ceredigion County Council for many years now to make Welsh the language of work. Back in 2011 the current council leader, Ellen ap Gwynn, signed a statement promising that the council would move to make Welsh the main language of work.

“Despite creating new strategies and plans over recent years, there has been no announcement of a firm intention to make Welsh the language of administration. There is an opportunity for Ceredigion Council to follow the example of Anglesey Council, and an opportunity for the new Chief Executive, Eifion Evans, to make a significant change if the council announces a plan and implementation schedule to move to making Welsh the main language of work.”

Leader of the Council, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn told us: “Ceredigion County Council is committed to supporting the Welsh language and culture, and to ensuring that its services and activities serve to promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh Language across the county.

“The Council has adopted the principles that, in Wales, the Welsh language should not be treated no less favourably than the English language, and that persons in Wales should be able to live their lives through the medium of the Welsh language if they choose to do so. The official languages of the Council are Welsh and English and they shall have the same status and validity in the external and internal workings of the Council.”

The Council’s strategic aims for the Welsh language are:

· The Council is committed to establishing itself as a bilingual organisation when we provide services to the public, when we work with partners and in our internal administration.

· To encourage our workforce to take pride in the Welsh language. All Ceredigion County Council services are able to operate with an effective understanding of the bilingual communities served and is able to identify with them.

· To offer service users a language preference when they contact the Council and to ensure continuity of service.

· To respect the fact that individuals can express their views and needs better in their preferred language, and that this is a matter of good practice rather than a concession.

· To work towards ensuring that services are available in both Welsh and English languages; that they are equal in terms of standard and quality and that the public are aware of the availability of these services.

· To increase the use of the language internally by raising awareness among staff of the importance of providing bilingual services. To steadily increase the proportion of staff at all levels who have the ability and confidence to speak and write Welsh, in order to fulfil the principles of the Welsh Language Standards.

· To support the aim of Welsh Government in achieving the objectives set out in their Welsh Language Strategy: Cymraeg 2050: A Million Welsh Speakers.

Cllr ap Gwynn continued: “The Policy for Promoting and Facilitating the Use of the Welsh Language Internally Policy was approved by Cabinet on 28 November. The internal administration of the Learning and Partnerships Directorate mainly operate in the Welsh language.”

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Man jailed for revenge porn against teenage ex-girlfriend

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A ‘PREDATORY OFFENDER’ who targeted young girls online and shared indecent images of them on pornographic websites has been jailed for more than two years.

Robin Edwards Jones, formerly of Lampeter, came to police attention after tracking down his former girlfriend – a teenager 26 years his junior – and sending a threatening email containing indecent images of her to her boss a year after their relationship ended.

The 48-year-old then uploaded hundreds of images of the then 17-year-old to pornographic websites, creating a personal bio for each site that allowed her to be identified through her Facebook account.

Jones has been jailed following a two-year investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police, which saw the force’s digital crime unit prove he had supplied the websites with these images.

Officer in case Detective Sergeant Steve Barry said: “This was a thorough investigation into what has become known as revenge porn.

“Two other police forces were initially involved in the investigation before passing it to Dyfed Powys Police, and our investigation spanned two years, with the safeguarding of the teenage victim at its heart.

“What we were faced with initially was a suspect who was alleged to have circulated indecent images of a teenage girl with the intent of causing her distress following the break-up of a six month relationship.

“As the investigation progressed, it transpired that Jones was a predatory offender, targeting young children online to obtain indecent images of them for his sexual gratification and desire to control them.”

The offender and victim met online in November 2015, when Jones claimed he was 28 years old in an attempt to instigate a relationship with a teenage girl.

Over the following six months, the victim sent a number of indecent images of herself to the offender on his request. He also created his own images from intimate video chats, increasing the library of images for his use.

The relationship ended in April 2016 when the teenager’s father became aware of the situation and notified the police.

There was no contact between the pair for 12 months after they separated.

DS Barry said: “It wasn’t until the following April when the victim started a new job, that Jones tracked her down and began his campaign against her.

“He set up an email account under a false name and sent the victim’s employer eight indecent images that she had taken during their relationship in a bid to get her fired from her job.

“Around the same time, the victim received a message asking if she was aware that these photos had been uploaded to a pornographic website – for a young girl, this was extremely traumatic.”

Enquiries linked the email account to Jones’s home address, and a warrant was carried out with the support of Dyfed-Powys Police’s Digital Communications and Cybercrime Unit.

A number of digital devices were seized and the suspect was interviewed in relation to the offences, strongly denying any wrongdoing – a position he maintained throughout the investigation.

“In the meantime, the victim received two messages on Facebook asking if images on another website were of her,” DS Barry said.

“She believed it was Jones further taunting her, but enquires revealed it was a man who had identified her through a false profile and hoped to start a sexual relationship.

“Applications were made to the sites to ensure these images were removed swiftly, to prevent further distress to the victim.”

As digital investigators analysed a computer belonging to Jones, they discovered he was also in contact with a 14-year-old American girl, with sexual messages exchanged between the pair.

“Evidence from the computers seized showed that Jones began his relationship with a girl in the US when she was just 12 years old,” DS Barry said.

“Contact was made through Interpol, but she and her family were unwilling to support our investigation.”

As the investigation was completed, officers found that Jones had more than 500 indecent images of the victims – 52 of which were the most serious classification – and that he had shared 162 private photos without consent of the victims.

He was charged with two counts of disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress; two counts of possessing indecent photographs of a child; and three counts of distributing indecent images of a child – with images spanning classes A, B and C.

Even with the weight of evidence against him, Jones maintained his innocence and opted for trial, however he admitted the offences on the day the trial began at Swansea Crown Court.

On September 17, he was sentenced to 27 months in prison. He must also register as a sex offender for 10 years, and was given a restraining order against contacting the victim.

DS Barry said: “This conviction was as a result of a team effort between forces and departments, but the effort and dedication from the digital cybercrime unit was outstanding and should be particularly commended.”

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Premises in Ceredigion issued with a closure notice over breach of coronavirus regulations

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A CEREDIGION premises has been closed down over breach of coronavirus regulations.

A closure notice has been served on The Mill Inn, Mill Street, Aberystwyth by licensing officers. The Mill Inn will remain closed until they can demonstrate that they have made improvements and meet the requirements of the coronavirus regulations.

Ceredigion County Council, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police, have stepped up their enforcement of businesses that are failing to keep their customers safe and to ensure that Covid-19 cases do not increase in the County.

There is growing evidence across the country that where there are insufficient controls pubs, clubs and bars increase the risk of Covid-19 spreading in the community and the Council will issue further closure notices where necessary to ensure compliance with the regulations.

The Council will act decisively if any business is found guilty of breaking Covid-19 regulations. In the interest of public safety, all businesses need to ensure that they are compliant with the regulations at all times.

Improvement notices are also being served on premises advising them to take action or face similar consequences. However, the Council is pleased to see how many businesses are operating well to provide a safe environment for their customers. Many of those visited in recent weeks have made further improvements following the advice of the council’s public protection team.

During the compliance visits, officers are checking that businesses are complying with the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions)(No.2) (Wales) Regulations 2020, and have the power to close, force improvements of review the premises licence or club premises certificate.

All pubs and clubs must ensure that:

· A Test, Trace, Protect system is in place to accurately record all visits to the premises so that customers can be easily contacted in the event of a positive case linked to the venue. This includes customers’ name and telephone number.
· Social distancing of 2 metres is maintained, with adequate signage, distance between tables and seating, and procedures for managing walkways and toilet areas.
· All premises must provide table service only i.e. no ordering at the bar.
· All food and drink must be consumed at tables.
· Customers are not drinking and standing at the bar.
· Customers are not drinking alcohol whilst standing, unless they are standing at a tall table – in all other instances they must be seated.
· There is no live music, and that recorded music is only played at a low background level.
· Hospitality businesses, including pubs, cafes, restaurants and casinos, will have to close at 10pm (coming into force on Thursday, 24 September at 6pm).

The Mill Inn’s Premises Closure Notice came into force 22 September 2020 at 21:00.

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Views sought on Aberaeron coastal defence scheme

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ABERAERON has a dynamic coastline with a legacy of flooding and damage from storms. These events continue today and with the onset of climate change and the predicted rises in sea levels these events are likely to increase in frequency and severity. Aberaeron is exposed to a wide range of wave conditions from the North-West and South-Westerly directions; with storm waves entering through the harbour entrance causing overtopping of the harbour walls and in extreme conditions overtopping the inner secondary wall. Storms in December 2013, January 2014 and October 2017 led to the closure of Quay Parade and overtopping of the current defences within the harbour and south beach.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Environmental Services said, “Ceredigion County Council along with the Welsh Government are committed to protecting the town. The Welsh Government have provided funding to design a scheme that will prevent the surrounding area suffering from future storms. It is predicted that 168 properties will be at risk of flooding by 2111 if nothing is done. The Council has engaged Atkins Consultants to design such a scheme. After investigating the effectiveness of various coastal defence options, they are seeking views on the scheme that is being put forward as the modelling confirms that it meets the current and future flood protection requirements.

The main aims are to protect the coastline from rising sea levels and storms; to protect people and property from flooding and to reassure residents and businesses that measures are in place to prevent flooding and coastal erosion. Opportunities for improved facilities, connectivity, investment and the re-design of open space within the harbour will be provided within the scheme and it will also enable other investment opportunities to be investigated.”

The Council is undertaking a public consultation which will allow residents and visitors to provide their views on the scheme. This which will include changes to South Pier, an extension to North Pier and the introduction of flood defence walls around the harbour areas. Feedback received will be taken into account during any detailed design for the scheme.

The consultation is available on the Council’s website at www.ceredigion.gov.uk/consultations with an opportunity to provide feedback. The consultation is open from 22 September 2020 until 20 October 2020. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the public consultation will be held on-line only. Should you have any queries, contact clic@ceredigion.gov.uk or 01545 570881.

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