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Sea Watch Foundation fly high in Cardigan Bay



IN RECENT YEARS, drones, unmanned, remote controlled aircrafts, have gained a lot of attention in the media due to their ability to capture stunning aerial wildlife footage which gives viewers a bird’s eye perspective.

Besides capturing beautiful images, however, drones have also become increasingly popular in the scientific community, allowing researchers to collect valuable data on the species that they are studying in a variety of different ways. Researchers at the Sea Watch Foundation (SWF), a nationwide research charity studying whales, dolphins and porpoises in the UK, have recently started to utilize drones to collect additional data and dive deeper into the behaviour of the local semi resident population of bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay.

While the main target species of SWF’s Cardigan Bay Monitoring project is the bottlenose dolphin, on their latest survey, the New Quay based team had a surprise encounter with some unexpected visitors, a large pod of over 40 common dolphins and could not resist trying to get some aerial footage of this fantastic encounter.

Despite their name, common dolphins are not seen as frequently as the local bottlenose dolphins being more at home in the offshore expanse of the Celtic Deep than the shallow coastal regions of Cardigan Bay, so spotting them so close to the shores of Cardigan Island came as a complete surprise.

Aerial view of some of the common dolphins encountered by the team. Screenshot from drone footage taken by David Ord/Sea Watch Foundation

“It was an amazing experience seeing them swim alongside and interacting right in front of us,” said SWF’s research assistant, Claudia Afeltra,”Some of them even brought their newborn calves within metres of our bow. It was truly incredible.”

At 2m, common dolphins are about half the size of the resident bottlenose dolphins and have a distinctive tan and grey hourglass colouration. They are very gregarious and in deeper, offshore waters can often be seen in groups numbering in their hundreds.

“Reviewing the encounter on the drone footage was really interesting,” said SWF’s Monitoring Officer, Katrin Lohrengel,”Particularly with a group this big, it can be challenging to take detailed behavioural data but the drone lets us take another look at how they are interacting as a group, we have some lovely footage particularly of mums and calves.”

The team hope to collect additional footage of both common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins to shed more light on social interactions and group dynamics in the future.

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Force decision to challenge inappropriate behaviour of officer the right one



A DYFED-POWYS POLICE officer has been dismissed from his post with immediate effect, after the force challenged the previous finding of a conduct panel which would have enabled him to return to front line duties.

PC Simon England first appeared before an independent panel in April 2019, following reports of inappropriate sexual behaviour and comments towards colleagues and (indirectly) members of the public.

Following a judicial review into the 2019 hearing, this week PC England was brought before another panel, overseen by Legally Qualified Chair, Mrs Sally Olsen.

PC England fully admitted the alleged conduct in its entirety and accepted that it amounted to gross misconduct. However,  he did not believe that his conduct justified his dismissal from the force.

The Panel found that the behaviour in question amounted to serious breaches of the standards of professional behaviour relating to authority, respect and courtesy, equality and diversity and discreditable conduct, and was therefore dismissed with immediate effect. 

Following this second panel, Temporary Chief Constable Claire Parmenter said:

“Dyfed-Powys Police quite rightly expects the highest standards of professional behaviour from its officers and staff, as do the communities we serve and protect.

“The force cannot and will not tolerate behaviour of this kind. We will always take action to protect our officers, staff, and without question, the public.

“It is vital that we maintain public confidence in the force, and public confidence cannot be upheld by allowing individuals who behave in such a way to remain in the organisation.

“I am pleased to see that the seriousness of this matter has now been recognised and that the panel have judged this behaviour to amount to gross misconduct. This confirms that the decision to challenge the original conclusion via judicial review was absolutely the right one”.

Examples of the conduct in question include inappropriate touching of colleagues with sexual intent, inappropriate comments to colleagues about masturbation, and talk of specific sexual acts that he would wish to engage in with members of the public he had seen.

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New Quay RNLI search for unoccupied grey dinghy



On Sunday night (25 July) New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to search for an unoccupied grey dinghy last seen near Cwmtydu, south of New Quay. 

The Audrey LJ lifeboat launched at 8.40pm with three volunteer crew members on board and made good speed down the coast.  

Dylan Price, New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “On arrival the crew commenced searching and soon found a large blue and black inflatable. We were then tasked to carry out further searches for a grey boat between Cwmtydu and New Quay but on finding nothing else we were stood down and returned to station by 10pm. 

“Remember if you see anyone in trouble or find yourself in difficulty on the coast do not hesitate to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” 

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Stand up for slowing down speed campaign launched



INAPPROPRIATE speed contributes to around 11% of all injury collisions reported to the police, with 15% of collisions resulting in a serious injury and 24% of collisions resulting in fatalities.

Starting on the 26th July, the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) Speed Campaign will kick off across the UK, with GoSafe and the four Welsh Police Forces participating in both engaging with the public about the risks of speeding and enforcing the speed limits on the roads of Wales.

In 2019, 60,073 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were issued in Wales to drivers/riders for speeding.

Speeding is a major contributing factor to collisions on the roads of Wales. This includes both ‘excessive speed’, where the speed limit is exceeded, as well as driving or riding within the speed limit when this is too fast for the conditions at the time; for example, in poor weather, poor visibility or high pedestrian activity.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, we saw less traffic but higher speeds.  Now our restrictions are lifting, traffic volumes are up and as we are holidaying in the UK more, we are seeing more people speeding on the roads in Wales.  We want to change this, but can only do that with your help.

 Over the next few weeks you will see an increased presence on the road network of Wales as we aim to keep all road users safe and reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.

 We know that the majority of road users comply with the speed limit; but the minority of those who do not increases the risk to the safety of all road users and need to be educated on the risks to their own safety as well as to the safety of those around them. Throughout this campaign, GoSafe and our partners in the Police and Local Authorities will encourage and educate more people to reduce their speed to save lives.

Teresa Ciano, GoSafe Partnership Manager said: “GoSafe enforce at sites across Wales in order to encourage motorists to comply with the speed limits and in turn make our roads and communities safer for everyone. If we all play our part and stand up for slowing down we can make a difference, and we can save lives on the roads of Wales.”

Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change said: “I am very pleased to support this campaign. Driving at high speeds costs lives and a greater police presence on our roads will mean motorists will be more likely to drive within the speed limits, protecting lives and avoiding a speeding fine.”

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