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Police helicopter is ‘slow’ to reach incidents

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A REPORT has claimed that a police helicopter takes almost an hour to respond to incidents in the Dyfed-Powys area.

Dyfed-Powys Police pay £891,000 for air support from bases in north and south east Wales, as well as bases in England. A base in Carmarthenshire was shut down due to cuts by the National Police Air Service in January 2016.

The response time – over 50 minutes on average – is the second worst in both Wales and England.

However, a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson has said that the helicopter service was a ‘valuable asset’. With 349 hours of air support, the force has paid £2,553 for every hour of flights over the last year.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “The HMICFRS report on the provision of police air support clearly demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police has benefited financially from the efficiencies of being a partner in this national service.

“There is a reduction in the cost of police air support available across the Dyfed-Powys Police area alongside the ability to access a 24/7 service, a capability not available to us prior to the new arrangements. It is important to note that the deployment of resources is now consistently based on an agreed threat, risk and harm assessment.

“As a result of this new assessment criteria the use of the helicopter has reduced within the Dyfed-Powys area.

“As an NPAS strategic board member I ensure that rural police forces such as Dyfed-Powys are not forgotten and during my time on the board we have seen significant financial savings being realised for Dyfed-Powys Police.

“The board has also been assured that the new fixed wing capability will be distributed more widely than initially proposed and a fixed wing asset will be available in Wales in due course to compliment the helicopter.”

A spokesperson for the police force added:  “Dyfed-Powys Police is provided with an air support service from NPAS as part of the national collaboration, before which we had our own helicopter which was undoubtedly a more limited capability.

“The effectiveness of the service now provided by NPAS is regularly reviewed by senior leaders from Dyfed-Powys Police in conjunction with representatives from NPAS and the outcomes from these reviews are used to influence the service provided by NPAS.

“This is a valuable operational resource for us as a rural area, and we will continue to work with NPAS colleagues to get the best service for our communities using this valuable asset when circumstances are appropriate, and this will include seeking greater coverage from future developments.”

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Victoria Road: Meat stolen shed not fit for humans, say police

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is warning that meat stolen during a burglary in Llanelli is not fit for consumption by humans.
Several bags of frozen chicken and other meat were taken from a shed in Queen Victoria Road some time over the past few days, along with a radio controlled car and an electric saw.
If eaten, the meat could result in food poisoning.
Officers are concerned that the offender could be intending to sell the meat on, or might already have sold it.
Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police on 101.

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Llanelli: Woman on trial for fiddling more than £100,000 in benefits

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A LLANELLI woman is to stand trial accused of fiddling more than £100,000 in benefits she was not entitled to.

Emma Jane Campbell, aged 49, appeared at Swansea Crown Court today for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Keith Thomas.

Campbell, of Elizabeth Street, denied retaining wrongful credits totalling £42,908 between 2002 and 2010, £63,113 between 2002 and 2016 and £7,722 between 20002 and 2013.

The amounts were said to relate to income support, housing benefit and council tax relief received by Campbell when she had capital in excess of the permitted amount.

Campbell is also charged with fraud by claiming Jobseeker’s allowance and employment support allowance but failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of her true financial position.

Campbell entered pleas of not guilty to all the charges.

She was granted bail until the start of her trial on April 17.

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Burry Port RFC welcomes asset transfer

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BURRY PORT RFC has welcomed its takeover of its home base from Carmarthenshire County Council.

The Rugby Club has signed a 99 year lease for the playing fields and changing rooms at Burry Port Memorial Park as part of the county council’s asset transfer programme.

The club has also been awarded a Maintenance Grant to assist with maintaining the asset and an Improvement Grant to assist with making any improvement works they may wish to undertake.

Around 80 per cent of the county council’s recreation assets have already been transferred, or are nearing completion, to town or community councils, or community groups.

Two years ago the council’s executive board agreed a package to offer community councils or groups the opportunity to take over the running of facilities in their areas.

Councillors believe it gives local people greater control in the future of their area and their community.

Burry Port RFC secretary Jonathan Davies said the club accepted that changes had to be made although it would not have chosen it.

“In hindsight I think it is a positive thing for the club. It has increased the assets of the club and given members a sense of belonging to the park.”

Executive board member for assets Cllr David Jenkins said: “Unfortunately, we can no longer afford to maintain all the recreational assets in our portfolio.

“However, this is not just a cost saving exercise – communities are often best placed to manage facilities in their local environment.

“I’m pleased that Burry Port RFC has taken over and is looking forward to the future.”

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