DYFED-POWYS POLICE FORCE has this week received its first ever ‘Good’ rating in its legitimacy assessment – a result that Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn welcomed as a ‘significant and positive step forward’.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) independently assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of police forces and fire & rescue services in the public interest.
HMICFRS defines a legitimate force as one ‘whose staff and officers are seen by the public consistently to behave fairly, ethically and within the law. It seeks to identify and resolve issues relating to fair and respectful treatment by the police’.
The assessment took place in June 2017, just over one year since Police Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn was elected to office and appointed a new Chief Constable to lead the force. That leadership, and the improvements initiated by a command team in place for barely six months, has been recognised by HM Inspectorate.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said he was ‘delighted’ with the report, but added that more needs to be done to increase standards.
Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “I am delighted that the tireless efforts of the entire police force – from the leadership command team to the support staff and support officers in our communities – have led to this very positive report result this week.
“When I was elected as Commissioner, just one year before the assessment was conducted, I was adamant that standards across the force should improve.
“There’s undoubtedly more to do to increase standards, and it is my role as Commissioner to ensure the command team does not rest on its laurels and progresses steadily to an ‘Outstanding’ categorisation.
“That said, we must recognise that this is the first time ever, since the PEEL inspection process was introduced four years ago, that Dyfed-Powys has achieved a Good rating in legitimacy assessment.
“This is a significant and positive step forward, and only goes to improve the service Dyfed-Powys Police provides to local residents.”
Deputy Chief Constable Darren Davies said: “We very much welcome the latest legitimacy report from HMICFRS which gives yet further substantial evidence of the progress the force is making, having last month seen some tangible signs of improvement when they released their efficiency report. This report also considers the leadership of the force.
“This is the fourth year of the PEEL inspection process, and we are delighted that for the first time Dyfed-Powys has achieved a ‘Good’ grading in ‘legitimacy’ since the inception of the process.
“This inspection took place in June, barely six months since the new command team had been in place, and has recognised the progress being made, supported by a dedicated workforce and a Police and Crime Commissioner whose direction for the future and ethos is closely aligned with that of the Chief Officers.
“HMICFRS has recognised the significant progress that has been made against both inspection areas in the last 12 months. We are confident that when the 3rd strand of the PEEL reports on ‘effectiveness’ is published in 2018, this will bring yet further evidence of progress.
“In 2015 & 2016 Dyfed-Powys Police was graded as requires improvement in both legitimacy and efficiency. For two years running there had been no recognised improvement.
“Together with all staff, we have worked tirelessly to improve performance and we are particularly pleased that we have been graded as good with regard to our understanding of demand as well as good for the way we treat the public and good for how ethically our staff behave.
“HMICFRS has identified areas for improvement and we have already begun the work to address these points and will continue to do so whilst supporting our staff who are maintaining this positive direction of travel.
“Much has been achieved, but there remains a lot of hard work ahead to continue to strive to deliver a top quality service for our communities.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn concluded: “As the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys I am delighted that the hard work and effort is being recognised. I am keen to see standards across the Force improving and believe that recent improvements are down to the new leadership, supported by a committed workforce.”
Elin Jones backs calls for business rates holiday extension for independent businesses
CEREDIGION’S Member of the Senedd, Elin Jones, has backed calls by the British Independent Retail Association for the extension of the current rates holiday for non-essential businesses in 2021/22.
Many local independent businesses have been closed for the best part of a year, and many will be in a more precarious situation now than when the initial rates holiday was announced last year. Many businesses will be looking forward to the easing of restrictions over the next few months, but Elin Jones warned that many would benefit from the continued business rates holiday.
Elin Jones said:
“Every effort must be made to secure the future of independent businesses in Ceredigion. They are such an important feature of life in Ceredigion, both as employers, and as a draw for people to our towns and villages.
“Normal trading will eventually resume, and these businesses will be able to flourish again, but local businesses owners know that this cannot be rushed. Therefore we must continue to sustain our businesses until they are once again back on an even keel.
“It will take a while for footfall to resume, and extending the business rates holiday is one way to help in this time of need.”
MP makes Budget case for support for self-employed and small businesses in Ceredigion
BEN LAKE MP has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the government’s financial support package for businesses and self-employed workers in next week’s Budget as many struggle to stay afloat during continued lockdown restrictions.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak is to set out the UK Government’s budget on Wednesday 3 March, almost a year since the last Budget on 11 March 2020.
To help businesses and our local high streets over coming months, the Ceredigion MP has called on the Chancellor to extend the lowered rate of VAT at 5% for hospitality and tourism for a year to March 2022 and to extend the business rates relief package.
Mr Lake also called on the Chancellor to retain the furlough scheme for the duration of pandemic restrictions, as recent figures show more than 178,000* in Wales are still receiving government help from the CJRS. He also urged the Chancellor to expand the existing eligibility criteria for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme in order to offer some help to the many individuals who have not received a penny in Government support thus far.
Ben Lake MP said: “For many businesses and self-employed workers, the financial support government has offered over the last 12 months has been a lifeline. Now, as we are finally starting to see light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, we cannot remove this lifeline prematurely. Extending this help for a little longer, and expanding the criteria to help those that have been excluded thus far, would offer small businesses the support they require to ‘bounce back’ from the pandemic.”
Many businesses who are still not open due to lockdown measures are also now expected to start repaying their Bounce Back Loans. This is despite their situation largely remaining unchanged since they took out the loan, or in some unfortunate instances, worsened as they have not yet been able to trade.
UKHospitality has estimated that the hospitality sector lost around £72 billion in sales in 2020 and faces, frankly, a debt mountain, including £4.2 billion in state-backed loans.
Mr Lake said: “It is important that businesses that took out bounce back loans and CBILS are required to pay only when they are in a position to do so – once they have ‘bounced back’ from the pandemic. Affording such a level of flexibility, and thus preventing avoidable business failures, would protect jobs, the taxpayer’s investment in the recovery, and the integrity of our financial system.
“We remain in the early stages of a vaccine-led recovery, and it is likely that we will have some form of restrictions for many months to come. Having done so much to protect the economy and the workforce, we must not withdraw support prematurely, as to do so would risk throwing away the investment taxpayers have made in the last year, and potentially our economic recovery.”
Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50
EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.
While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.
Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:
- Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
- Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
- Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
- Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
- Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April
The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.
Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.
People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.
Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While our programme has had to slow due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.
“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.
“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.
“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.
“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”
People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.
The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.
Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.
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