THREE police officers have been assaulted in Ceredigion in the past week, with offenders spitting and coughing in their faces.
Two men involved in the incidents have been jailed for their abusive behaviour towards Dyfed-Powys Police PCs in Aberystwyth.
The first incident took place while officers were trying to help a man who needed medical attention.
Police were called to Aberaeron at 5.20pm on June 4 following a report of an unconscious man on the floor in North Road.
On officers’ arrival, four paramedics were at the scene treating Nathan Newman, who was believed to be under the influence of alcohol and illegal substances.
Throughout his treatment, the 18-year-old was abusive towards ambulance service staff and was behaving in an aggressive and threatening manner.
T/Inspector Rhys Jones said: “His condition improved and he appeared to have calmed down, so he was helped to his feet by a PC.
“Without warning he suddenly spat in the officer’s face, with saliva going in the PC’s eye.
“He was immediately arrested and a spit hood was put on him as he continued to spit while on the floor.”
Two PCs arrived to provide support, and put Newman in leg restraints as a result of his continued threatening behaviour.
Despite restraints, the offender continued to lash out and make threats towards officers.
At 5.40pm, he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker and was taken to hospital for medical treatment.
T/Insp said: “On the way to the hospital, he managed to take off the hood, before spitting repeatedly across the back of the police van.
“His abusive behaviour continued, and he shouted that all he could do was spit, give officers a ‘horrible disease’ and ‘hope they die’.
“This is a completely unacceptable way to behave towards officers who had been called to help when he needed medical attention.”
Newman was charged with assaulting an emergency worker and criminal damage, which he admitted at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 06 June 2020.
He was sentenced to 32 weeks in prison.
On Wednesday, June 10, police were called to the Co-Op store in Penparcau, where a man had run off with a charity box and a purse after being found in the staff room.
Officers stopped Christopher Jones, of First Avenue, a short distance away as he matched the description given by staff.
He was found with cash and a bank card in someone else’s name, and was arrested on suspicion of burglary.
While in the back of a police car, Jones turned towards the PC sitting next to him, he had Coronavirus and coughed in his face.
The 41-year-old was charged with burglary and assaulting an emergency worker and appeared at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, June 11, where he pleaded guilty.
He was sentenced to 28 weeks in prison.
T/Insp Jones said: “We will not tolerate assaults or abusive behaviour towards emergency service workers, who are carrying out their duty to protect the public.
“In both these instances, officers were left fearing their health might suffer as a result of an offender’s appalling behaviour. Nobody should be made to feel this way while carrying out their work.”
An officer was also spat at while booking a woman into custody on June 8.
Ben Lake MP stands up for Ceredigion’s hospitality sector in Parliament
A WESTMINSTER Hall debate, brought about by an online petition signed over 200,000 times, saw MPs on both sides come together to shine a light on the challenges currently faced by restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and supply chain businesses across the UK.
During his contribution to the debate, Ben Lake MP emphasised the importance of the hospitality industry to Ceredigion’s local economy. Ceredigion is home to nearly 400 food and accommodation businesses, including 75 pubs, and together hospitality businesses employ 4,500 people in the county. This equates to over 16% of all employees, without accounting for the many supply chain jobs that are dependent on the sector, such as those found in breweries, food wholesale, and catering equipment hire businesses.
Figures published by UK Hospitality have shown that approximately 41% of hospitality businesses suggested that they would fail by mid-2021 and only one in five sector businesses have enough cash flow to survive beyond February.
Ben Lake MP said: “The vaccination programme of course offers some hope that we will see the level of Covid disruption reduce significantly this year, but hospitality businesses across Ceredigion tell me that they are deeply concerned about their immediate prospects for survival.
“I support calls for the Treasury to provide additional funds so that businesses can be supported to bounce back once restrictions have been eased, and to pause employer national insurance contributions for furloughed employees as a way of alleviating the burden on businesses that are still, in many instances, required by law to close. I also urged the Treasury to consider extending the business rates holiday for the forthcoming financial year, as well as extending the hospitality VAT reduction scheme into 2022.
“Not only would these support measures give businesses the support they require to see out this pandemic, it would also avoid the terrible situation whereby businesses that have previously received Government support are forced to close for good – leaving their employees without a job and previous Government support in vain.”
While there will be no direct action as a consequence of this Westminster Hall debate, it is hoped the result will put increased pressure on the UK Government to consider the proposal more seriously.
Lifeboat Operations Manager in New Year’s Honours list
Richard Llewelyn Griffiths the Lifeboat Operations Manager of Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station has been recognised for services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Wales.
He has been awarded a BEM.
Having served as a RNLI volunteer for an impressive 47 years, it is his role in the last 21 years as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) which has earned him the most respect.
His local knowledge has provided reassurance to casualties and crews alike when launching in difficult conditions.
His operational decision-making and station management skills are outstanding, and he is greatly valued by crew, management, volunteers and coastal personnel both past and present.
He has contributed greatly towards Aberystwyth being recognised as a ‘benchmark’ Inshore Lifeboat Station, serving as an example to the whole institution of how a station could and should be run.
Richard said: ‘I’m very surprised but honoured to be receiving a BEM – the news still doesn’t feel real. My father was awarded a BEM in 1988 and I still have his medal at home, so to be awarded one myself for my work with the lifeboats is a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of characters during my time with the RNLI – both at Borth and Aberystwyth – and continue to volunteer alongside a good crew today.’
Nationally, a total of six Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised for their vital role in helping the charity save lives at sea through the New Year’s Honours.
Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said: ‘Following a challenging 2020, it is particularly pleasing to see these RNLI volunteers recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. Together, they personify the RNLI’s ‘One Crew’ ethos, representing the variety and diversity of roles from a former full-time mechanic to shore crew and fundraisers to station managers, who collectively deliver a shared vision to save every one. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, congratulations to you all for being recognised for your longstanding service, hard work and selfless commitment. And thank you for everything you do to help the RNLI save lives at sea.’
Temporary closure of Minor Injuries Unit in Cardigan confirmed
AS PART of its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hywel Dda University Health Board says it has temporarily closed the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in Cardigan in order to redeploy clinical staff to support the COVID 19 response within Ceredigion.
The MIU, which is based in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre and normally operates from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, will temporarily close with immediate effect. The situation will be under constant review and normal service will be resumed when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
In the meantime, minor injuries help and advice is available as follows:
– visit the 111 symptom checker (https://111.wales.nhs.uk/)
– visit your local pharmacy
– call 111
– please do NOT self-present to the GP reception in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre as they do not deal with minor injuries.
– for emergency care the A+E departments are as follows:
· Glangwili Hospital A+E Carmarthen SA32 2AF
· Bronglais Hospital A+E Aberystwyth SY23 1ER
· Withybush Hospital A+E Haverfordwest SA61 2PZ