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Dyfed-Powys Police urges communities to report stalking

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is making sure communities have the confidence to report stalking during National Stalking Awareness Week 2018.

Officers, PCSOs and specialist staff are raising awareness of stalking and harassment during National Stalking Awareness Week 2018, led by Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

They will be visiting stalking victims, offenders, partner agencies – including refuges – and hosting pop-up stalls out in their communities to raise awareness of stalking and the support available. This includes the national helpline and more localised support for victims and witnesses via Goleudy, a service provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner of Dyfed-Powys.

Stalking is repeated unwanted contact from one person to another, which demonstrates either a fixation or obsession and causes the victim to feel alarm, distress or fear of violence. It may involve personal contact but also via the phone, email, letter or social media.

Stalking behaviours could be as simple as rearranging garden furniture, sending unwanted gifts, loitering on the pavement outside their house or even calling social services to maliciously report ‘poor’ parenting.

The law to protect people from stalking in England and Wales is the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. It was amended in November 2012 to include ‘stalking’. Since that change, Dyfed-Powys Police has recorded 94 stalking crimes to date.

Detective Superintendent Anthony Griffiths, force lead for the Protecting Vulnerable People Unit, said: “Stalking can have a huge emotional impact on victims affecting their self-esteem, self-confidence and feelings of safety.

“Statistics show victims may suffer up to 100 incidents before reporting the issue to police and we want victims to know that they can come to police sooner and will be taken seriously. They should never feel they are wasting our time or that they are over-reacting.

“It is also vitally important that our partner agencies, community groups and members of the public recognise the behaviours associated with stalking and know how to get help for victims.”

Taken in isolation, events might seem unremarkable. But in particular circumstances and with repetition, they take on a more sinister meaning.

Unwanted communications may include telephone calls, letters, emails, faxes, text messages, messages on social networking sites, graffiti or sending or leaving unsolicited gifts.

Unwanted intrusions include following, waiting for, spying on, approaching and going to a person’s home. A stalker may also order or cancel goods or services, make complaints (to legitimate bodies), damage property or follow and try to talk to you online (cyberstalking).

ADVICE FOR VICTIMS

  • Keep a record of what happened, where and when you were followed or telephoned, or when you received post or email messages.
  • Write down information as soon as possible when events are still fresh in your mind.
  • Tell the police if any neighbours or others saw or heard what happened.
  • Record how the suspect looked or sounded – try to include what they were wearing and the make, number plate of any involved car.
  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.

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Victim speaks out about the impact knifepoint robbery

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Teifion Lewis: Robbed the man at knifepoint

THE VICTIM of a knifepoint robbery has spoken out about the impact the incident has had on his life as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in a national knife amnesty aiming to get weapons off the streets.

The 24-year-old was approached by a man he didn’t know while walking his dog in Carmarthen on July 20 this year. A knife was held to his chest, and he was forced to hand over the money in his wallet.

His attacker, Teifion Lewis, of Llammas Street, Carmarthen, was arrested and charged with robbery within four days, and was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Looking back at the incident, the victim, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “At first, I didn’t realise he had a knife on him. I just assumed he was another man who was out partying, given he was young and it was late on a Friday night.

“Even when he was right in front of me with his hand on my chest, I assumed he must have had too much to drink and just stumbled into me. Once I saw he was brandishing a knife, though, that changed everything. It was at that moment that I realised I was in far more danger than I’d first thought.

“I suppose the only real thing that was going through my mind at the time was to talk to him, do as he says, and get out of there as soon as possible without becoming hysterical. I just had to keep as calm as possible for the time he was blocking my route.”

He explained that it was only when Lewis had taken his money and walked away, that he realised what could have happened had things gone wrong.

“I thought about how easily he could have stabbed me and I’d have been left out in an empty street, cold and alone, bleeding to death, without even a mobile phone on me to call my friends and family to tell them I love them,” he said.

“I’ve never given much thought as to what my inevitable death will be like, but I’d never have thought it could have ended that way.”

The victim had walked his dog every night for two years – using this particular route for seven months – with no issue. Since being robbed, he has become wary of going out at night and hasn’t been able to walk down the lane where he was stopped without suffering flashbacks.

“It’s not necessarily the whole event that comes back to me, but different parts, such as when he started to sob to me about his home life, or when he apologised for ‘having to mug me’,” he said.

“By far, what’s stuck with me the most are the words said to me as I was being mugged. The words ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ have been repeating in my mind every day since then, without failure.”

On September 2, at Swansea Crown Court, Teifion Lewis was sentenced for robbery and possessing a knife in a public place. The victim read out a statement directly addressing Lewis, urging him to get his life back on track and forgiving him for what he did.

“You asked me that night to forget that the robbery had ever happened,” he read. “My assumption is because you were fearful as for what might subsequently happen to you. I’m afraid though, that the image of a knife being flicked towards my chest, and the phrase ‘I want your money, I don’t want your life’ is something I will never be able to erase from my mind, no matter how much I wish for it to go.

“I want you, however, to improve. I want you to use your punishment as your wake-up call, and as a doorway to improving both your future and the future of those who you are close to. There is help available for you, even in prison, and even when it seems all hope is lost. If I can get my life back on track after my autism diagnosis, so can you.

“You’re young, you’re able bodied, and you still have time. Use it wisely. I can’t forget what you did, but just this once I will forgive you.”

The victim has spoken out about his experience as Dyfed-Powys Police takes part in Operation Sceptre – a national week of action aimed at cracking down on the illegal possession of knives. A knife amnesty is taking place during the week (Sept 18-24), with people able to bin their knives at specific locations across the force no questions asked.

The 24-year-old has backed the operation, and the chance to get knives out of our communities.

“I’d prefer it if these people who carry knives with them be honest about who they are and why they have them on their person,” he said. “But it’s much more important that it’s an opportunity to get these weapons off the street.

“If the ability to do this anonymously is what gives these people the confidence to rid themselves of their weapons, then so be it.”

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Jailed for spate of car fires

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AN ARSONIST hid behind a tree so he could watch cars and vans going up in flames.

Benn Gary Davies, aged 26, set fires at three locations in Llanelli and was jailed for three years after admitting three offences of arson.

Brian Simpson, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court how fires broke out in three different places in the early hours of July 6 this year.

They all involved cars and vans.

The duty manager at the Premier Inn, Llanelli, saw in horror that four vehicles in the car park were on fire.

When he went to investigate he noticed Davies hiding behind a tree and apparently watching the flames take hold.

In all, said Mr Simpson, Davies caused £25,000 worth of damage.

The court heard that Davies had a previous conviction for arson.

His barrister, James Hartson, said he had drunk an enormous quantity of alcohol.

Judge Peter Heywood told Davies, of Bynea, Llanelli, he had an underlying problem with alcohol.

“You have a bad record for damaging property and a conviction for arson.

“Arson is always viewed seriously by the courts.

“Cars can explode. Indeed, one of the vans concerned was used to transport calor gas,” he added.

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Sports photographer found after four months

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE have confirmed that a sports photographer has been found, having been missing for four months.

Gareth Davies, 45, was last seen on May 14 at Llanelli train station having visited family in the town.

Mr Davies was described as having professional links across the UK and France, and was living and working in Versailles, France at the time.

He was due to return there, but concerns were raised when he did not arrive.

Yet, last Friday (Sept 14) Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed that he was found in the UK safe and well.

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