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Ceredigion youngsters answer the mayday call from the RNLI to raise funds

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WELSH RNLI crews have issued their own mayday call after figures reveal a dramatic increase in lives saved last summer. The RNLI in Wales has today released its annual rescue figures that shows during the summer of 2020 the number of lives saved by lifeboat crews rocketed by 71%.  

Last year as lockdown restrictions eased and people flocked to the coast, RNLI lifesavers saved the lives of 24 people between June and August, compared with 14 lives the previous year.  

The latest annual statistics for 2020 show the RNLI’s volunteer crews at the 30 lifeboat stations between Flint and Penarth launched 918 times, aided 991 people and saved 36 lives. RNLI lifeguards on beaches in south Wales, west Wales and Denbighshire in north Wales attended 1,046 incidents and aided 2,673 people. 

With more people expected to be holidaying close to home this year, the RNLI predicts a summer like no other. The lifesaving charity is calling for the people of Wales to support its mayday campaign to raise funds to ensure volunteer crews can continue to save lives at sea.   

The RNLI’s Mayday Mile campaign launches on Saturday 1 May and runs throughout the month. Lifesavers in Wales are calling on supporters to join the Mayday Mile and cover at least one mile in any way they chose and raise vital funds to keep people safe on our coastline. 

One of the youngest Mayday Mile participants is five-year-old Mikey Richards from Aberystwyth. Mikey is cycling five miles in his wellies to raise funds to keep his Dad safe at sea. Dad Ian Richards, is a volunteer helm at Aberystwyth RNLI and incredibly proud of his son’s efforts. To support Mikey visit:  https://themaydaymile.rnli.org/fundraising/mikeys-yellow-wellie-bike-ride  

South of the county in New Quay, Steffan Williams, aged 12 will be answering the call for help by paddle-boarding his Mayday Mile, he said, “I hope to do a lot more than a mile on my paddleboard, I’m aiming for 10 miles. I want to raise as much money for the RNLI as they are the charity that saves lives at sea. My Dad is also on the crew at New Quay RNLI and I hope to join soon. They are all volunteers and need our help to pay for equipment and lifeboats.” To support Steffan visit: 

https://themaydaymile.rnli.org/fundraising/steffans-paddleboarding-mayday-challenge

The latest figures show in the RNLI’s west region, (which includes 30 stations in Wales, 11 in the north west of England and five stations on the Isle of Man) that the majority of call outs were to people out walking and running and not expecting to end up in the water.  

RNLI lifeboats launched 112 times to people requiring help after slipping or falling – significantly higher than anywhere else in the UK and Ireland.  

Figures also show that people becoming cut off by the tide is a huge cause of concern across Wales and the West, with 115 lifeboat calls out to people finding themselves stranded by the tide. The figure is almost double the national average.  

The summer of 2020 saw a rise in popularity of people paddle-boarding and requiring rescue, with 88 incidents last year.  

Stuart Wallace, RNLI Lifesaving Lead for the West said, “We all saw the images of packed beaches around the coast as restrictions lifted last summer, which meant a hugely busy season for the RNLI in Wales and the West as a whole. As another summer approaches, we know that our lifesavers face more huge challenges in keeping everyone safe, which is why we’re now the ones sending out our own mayday call and asking for help. 

“Our annual mayday fundraising campaign is our call for your support to help keep you and your family safe at the coast this summer.” 

Stuart added, “Our lifesavers drop everything to run to the lifeboat station when the call comes, so we’re asking our supporters to put themselves in the crew’s boots and join the Mayday Mile. Every penny raised during Mayday will go towards ensuring we are ready to save even more lives this year.” 

To sign up for the Mayday Mile or to make a donation in support of the RNLI’s lifesavers visit RNLI.org/supportMayday

*Summer refers to the period of 1st June – 31st August 2020 

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Force decision to challenge inappropriate behaviour of officer the right one

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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

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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

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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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