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Police and Crime Commissioners meet with Independent Custody Visitors at Aberystwyth

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DURING National Volunteers Week (1 – 7 June), Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn linked up with some of his volunteers in Aberystwyth, who volunteer as Independent Custody Visitors.

Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) are volunteers from the local community who visit police custody suites in pairs, unannounced, to check on the welfare of detainees and to ensure that their rights are upheld. 

The volunteers then report any issues, if any, through a report to the PCC and these are looked at in order to make improvements.

On the 1st of June, the PCC joined the volunteers to shadow their work during a custody visit at Aberystwyth Police Station.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said, “I was glad of the opportunity to meet with some of the ICVs in Ceredigion during this year’s volunteers’ week to shadow them for a custody visit at Aberystwyth Police Station. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the ICVs for the fantastic work they do to help ensure that detainees are treated fairly, and that our custody suites here in Dyfed-Powys offer a safe environment for all.

“It was reassuring to see that everything was in order and as it should be in the Aberystwyth custody suite, and that no issues were identified.”

In addition to the ICV volunteer groups the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office currently hosts another three volunteer schemes, which include, the Animal Welfare visitors, a Quality Assurance Panel, and the Youth Forum with Youth Ambassadors.

The Animal Welfare Scheme volunteers are members of the local community with experience of working dogs and professionals from animal welfare organisations. The welfare of police dogs is important; their handling must be effective, humane, ethical and transparent. Volunteers in my Animal Welfare Scheme observe, comment and report upon the welfare and condition under which police dogs are housed, trained, transported and deployed.

The Quality Assurance Panel review the quality of police contact with the public, in a transparent and independent manner, on behalf of our local communities.

The Panel have reviewed areas of Policing such as Use of Force incidents, Stop and Search incidents, Hate crimes, complaint cases, victim updates and 101 and 999 calls.  This work is vital to ensure the highest of standards in Dyfed-Powys.

The Police and Crime Commissioner also has youth volunteers from various backgrounds who are part of the Youth Forum. The Commissioner will meet with the Youth Forum regularly to have their views on policing matters, and to ensure that their voice is heard.

The Office of Police and Crime Commissioner I Dyfed-Powys are currently looking for new Quality Assurance Panel members and ICVs to visit Brecon and Newtown custody suites. For further information on these schemes please visit: Volunteer Schemes (dyfedpowys-pcc.org.uk)

PCC Dafydd Llywelyn added: “Volunteers from all my volunteer group, play an important part in helping me to hold the Chief Constable to account and play an important role within the scrutiny function of my office. I am very grateful to every single person who volunteers to help me deliver these vital schemes such as the Independent Visitor’s Scheme.”

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Ceredigion public transport services arrangements challenging

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WORK is ongoing to provide sustainable and affordable travel opportunities by bus.

A procurement process is currently underway to secure statutory learner transport requirements as well as opportunities for the general public to travel by bus on a number of routes in Ceredigion.

With the current arrangements coming to an end on 31 December 2022, tenders received for local bus routes are being evaluated. There is particular focus on their affordability taking into account the significant increases in tendered prices.

Unfortunately, no tender has been received for operating the 585 service, Aberystwyth-Tregaron-Lampeter. Unless a last minute contract can be negotiated, the non-school journeys on this route will not operate as of January 2023.

Opportunities for the general public to travel on some learner travel services will continue from January 2023 onwards. This is due to the integrated nature of the bus network in Ceredigion.

Councillor Keith Henson, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Transport Services said, “It is a very difficult time for the bus industry with spiralling costs, a lack of qualified Public Service Vehicle (PSV) drivers, uncertainty around future funding arrangements and low passenger numbers. The number of people using buses in Wales has been in decline for a number of years. This has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to the amount of public funding required to subsidise local bus services rising dramatically on already stretched public finance budgets.

The Council will continue in its efforts to work with key stakeholders including local bus operators, Welsh Government and Transport for Wales to provide sustainable and affordable travel opportunities by bus. However, in the short term at least, it has to be recognised that the outlook is very challenging.”

Further updates will be provided in due course while officers focus their attention on providing the best level of travel opportunities possible.

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Flood warnings issued in parts of Ceredigion

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FLOOD warnings have been issued in Borth, Borth River Leri and the tidal area at Aberystwyth seafront.

The high tide is expected at 8:15pm on Thursday 24 November 2022 at Borth. Wave overtopping at the seafront is expected to occur between 7:15pm and 9:45pm. The properties closest to the sea front are most at risk.

If you are worried or experiencing flooding, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

You can visit Natural Resources Wales website to see the current flood warnings in force, check the river and sea levels or keep an eye on the 5-day flood risk forecast: https://naturalresources.wales/?lang=en

You can also follow Ceredigion County Council, Natural Resources Wales and the Met Office on social media for updates on the weather situation.

Any further details will be updated on this page: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/novemberfloodwarnings

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Winter Fuel Support Scheme open for applications

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ELIGIBLE households are reminded to apply to the Winter Fuel Support Scheme for support towards paying winter fuel bills.

Welsh Government has re-launched the Winter Fuel Support Scheme for 2022 – 2023 as part of a £90m support package to address immediate pressures on living costs.

To date, Ceredigion County Council has assisted over 5,000 households with these payments, and paid out in excess of £1million. So, if you are facing increased fuel bills and think that you may qualify, please submit your application as soon as possible. Eligible households can claim a one-off £200 payment to provide support towards paying their energy bills for their primary residence in Wales.

The scheme is open to households where the applicant or their partner is responsible for paying the energy bills and is in receipt of one of the following benefits (at any time between 1 September 2022 and 31 January 2023):

Income Support
Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
Income Related Employment & Support Allowance
Universal Credit
Working Tax Credits
Child Tax Credits
Pension Credit
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Carers Allowance
Contributory Based/New Style Job Seekers Allowance
Contributory Based/New Style Employment & Support Allowance
Armed Forces Independence Payment
Constant Attendance Allowance
War Pension Mobility Supplement

If the applicant or their partner who is liable for the fuel costs does not receive any of the above qualifying benefits then they may still be eligible for a payment if a qualifying person lives with them. A qualifying person must meet all the following:

occupy the applicant’s or partner’s home as their primary residence, and
is a dependent child or an adult living with the applicant or their partner, and
is in receipt of one of the following benefits (at any time between 1 September 2022 and 31 January 2023):
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Attendance Allowance
Armed Forces Independence Payment
Constant Attendance Allowance
War Pension Mobility Supplement

The payment will be available to all eligible households regardless of whether they pay for their energy on a pre-payment meter, by direct debit or by paying a bill quarterly. The fuel received can be on or off grid.

Councillor Gareth Davies, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Finance and Procurement Services, said: “I would encourage people facing higher fuel bills to check if they are eligible for the Winter Fuel Assistance Scheme to get invaluable help with fuel bills when it is most needed.”

Applications can be made up until 5pm on 28 February 2023 on the Council website: https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/benefits/winter-fuel-support-scheme/

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