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Police commissioner: ‘Prioritise spending on bobbies not bricks’

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comissionerTHE POLICE landscape of Dyfed-Powys is to change, with leading figures planning a force more in tune with modern public needs. The change comes in the form of a long-term estates strategy agreed by Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon and Chief Constable Simon Prince. It follows a review of all properties used by the police around Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys. The strategy aims to balance the need for community policing and other force operations with the cost of using and maintaining buildings with public money. Mr Salmon, who owns the police estate as part of his work, said: “I want to prioritise our spending on bobbies not bricks. “The estates strategy will help ensure police officers can be seen and contacted in line with the public’s modern needs and wishes. “It will ensure that our communities receive an effective, efficient and professional service. “With some of our many buildings being expensive to run or under-used, the strategy will mean a wise use of public money. “Front line services will be prioritised with innovation in the use of buildings and technology. We’re looking at solutions such as sharing spaces with partner agencies and organisations. “Much of our existing property will be retained but the services operated from some will relocate to nearby premises in the same community. “For some locations we seek alternative arrangements after which the existing premises will close. New, well-considered arrangements will be put in place and publicised before any relocation or closure occurs. “The whole process will take up to three years; individual plans will be made for each area and will be carefully thought through with the needs of the community and the region taken into account. “I understand that some people may be concerned at the prospect of change but I assure them that they can start looking forward to improved services. “In the meantime, we’ve created 30 new police officer posts in response to what the public have consistently told me in the 18 months since my election – they want to see officers on the streets. After all, it’s bobbies that catch criminals – not bricks.” Mr Prince said: “My priority is to ensure that the appropriate number of police officers and PCSOs are working within our communities. “To achieve this, we’re thinking differently – with efficiency in mind – as to how we best use our police buildings. “Our new approach is very much about ‘business as usual’, with officers sharing space with partner agencies, using mobile police stations and promoting local visibility and engagement opportunities.” The force uses around 70 sites with total annual running costs of around £2.9m and a 10-year maintenance requirement of around £10.3m. Force priorities have evolved in recent years, with a greater emphasis now on community policing. Central funding is down from around £60.5m in 2011-12 to £53m in 2014-15. Recent Dyfed-Powys Police initiatives have included a pledge that “When we’re in, we’re open” – police station visitors are seen as long as an officer is on site and it is safe to do so. To tell Mr Salmon what you would like to see from your local policing services in future, contact his office: Mail – OPCC, PO Box 99, Llangunnor, Carmarthen, SA31 2PF; email – opcc@dyfed-powys. pnn.police.uk. Talk on Twitter using #MyPolicePlaces.

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Scheme to enhance the town of Tregaron for the National Eisteddfod

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THE REGENERATING Rural Towns scheme run by the Cynnal y Cardi LEADER programme has been supporting Tregaron Town Council with a series of marketing techniques and installations to promote and enhance Tregaron in preparation for the historic and cultural event, the National Eisteddfod of Wales 2022.

This work acted as a legacy to the National Eisteddfod at Tregaron following the influx of thousands of people to the town daily for the duration of the festival and subsequently to the surrounding rural communities and local sites of interest.

A wide range of installations could be seen in Tregaron during the Eisteddfod following town branding design work, which included a giant deckchair, lamp post flags, banners, bunting, tiered flower planters, benches & picnic tables, monument conservation improvements, and a prominent Tregaron sign overlooking the ‘Maes’. Many of these features will remain in place for the summer months and can be utilised by the town in the future. Further town development work is due to commence to maintain and enhance the attractiveness and vibrancy of the town.

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New Quay RNLI assists boy with broken ankle

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LAST week New Quay RNLI volunteers had a busy week with two training sessions, two call outs and crew attending a local agricultural show in Caerwedros.

With the inshore lifeboat training on Wednesday night and the all-weather lifeboat training on Thursday night, the crew then proceeded to launch on service twice over the weekend.

On Saturday 6 August at 5.50pm New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was tasked by HM Coastguard to provide first aid and assist the local New Quay Coastguard team with a medical evacuation on Traeth Gwyn, New Quay.

Huw Williams, one of New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “Unfortunately one of our crew members’ son had injured his ankle while playing on Traeth Gwyn. He urgently needed medical care but unfortunately there was a long wait for an ambulance. We arrived quickly on scene and administered pain relief. The casualty was in a lot of pain and we assisted the local Coastguard team to carry the casualty off the beach, up the steep path to their car.”

Father of the injured boy, Wayne Slawson added, “We would like to say a huge thank to everyone involved in this on Saturday and to both organisations as a whole, the level of service you all provide is first class.

“Our son is doing ok, following a few tough days in and out of hospital. He had to have a scan to determine whether or not he needed an operation as he had fractured his growth plate in his ankle. Luckily, they were able to manipulate the ankle into position while in theatre and now he has a full leg plaster. We can’t thank you all enough.”

The second callout was late on Sunday night at 11.50pm when New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was tasked by HM Coastguard to assist Dyfed Powys Police in searching for a missing person.

Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “After a thorough search of New Quay bay in glass calm conditions, and with nothing found, we were stood down and back at station by 1.30am. Another great example of our emergency services working together with the local Coastguard Rescue Team and police officers involved.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager said, “We have been busy over the past few months keeping up with training and with many launches on service. Remember if you see anyone in trouble in the sea on the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Our volunteers are on call 24/7 to help.”

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Possible super-hospital plans released as Pembrokeshire site ruled out

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HYWEL Dda Health Board have reduced the number of potential sites for the new “super-hospital” in West Wales from five to three. 

The new site has been narrowed down to two possible locations in Whitland or one in St Clears.

According to the plans provided in Hywel Dda’s technical appraisal reports, all sites will include a main building divided into planned and urgent care, as well as a separate facility for mental health services. Parking, administrative facilities, and a helipad are also planned.

Site 12 in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to site 12

The potential Narberth site is no longer being considered, meaning that the new hospital would be built outside of Pembrokeshire.

Hywel Dda presented the findings of a “transport infrastructure analysis,” stating that both sites had bus services that are “infrequent” and “short,” making shift work difficult.

Plan for ‘site C’ in Whitland
Travel time analysis for population to ‘site C’

For Whitland, it noted that there was an approximate 750m walking distance from the train station to the hospital site, with recommended walking distance of 400m, and that local roads do ‘not appear’ to suffer from significant congestion during a typical weekday. 

In St Clears, the report highlighted the impact a planned new railway station – expected to open in 2024 – could have on the town, saying it would be a ‘major boost’ to the area providing viable alternative car travel, with it being understood there is a commitment to increase the frequency of services at some stations along the west Wales line from two hourly to hourly.

Plans for ‘site 17’ in St Clears
Travel time analysis for population ‘site 17’ in St Clears

After it was announced that Narberth would not be the site of the new hospital, Hywel Dda University Health Board Chair, Maria Battle, assured the residents of Pembrokeshire that their concerns would be taken into account.

“Our programme business case to the Welsh Government is seeking the greatest investment west Wales will have ever seen,” said Ms Battle.

Ambulance times to Whitland, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)
Ambulance times to St Clears, Bronglais Hospital and Morriston Hospital (Welsh Ambulance Service travel time analysis June 2022)

“We have listened to and continue to listen to the fears and voices of the public we serve and our staff who understand the frontline challenges of trying to deliver services across so many sites and spread so thinly.

“Recognising the fragility of our services and the risk this poses every day, we do not intend to make changes at Glangwili or Withybush hospitals before a new hospital is built. And afterwards, they will continue to provide valuable health services to our communities.”

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