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Commissioner says public misled on funding

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THE WESTMINSTER Government has been accused of cutting Policing budgets by stealth leading to greater demands on Council Tax Payers to pick up the shortfall.

Last week, the Home Office announced an extra £300m in the Police budget to help pay for pension expenses and other costs.

Since 2010, central government funding to police forces has been cut by almost a third, in real terms, leading the number of officers to fall by 21,000.

The funding breaks down as:
• An extra £161m next year for England and Wales’ 43 police forces, which the Home Office says will protect police budgets in “real terms”. This brings the total to £7.8bn next year
• A £153m grant to help plug a shortfall in funding because of changes to pensions contributions
• Police and Crime Commissioners will also be able to increase the policing element of council tax.

This means households could pay an extra £24 a year for a Band D property, although local residents must be consulted first.

In one of his final acts as Cabinet Secretary for Local Government, Alun Davies AM responded to the announcement with a scathing attack on continuing cuts to Police budgets.

Mr Davies said: Responsibility for policing is not currently devolved. Welsh Government continues to believe in, and to make the case for, devolution of this important public service. The UK Government’s policy of austerity has imposed significant cash and real-term cuts to police funding over the last 9 years.

“The overall funding provided for this Settlement does nothing to reverse years of under-provision to enable police forces to maintain current levels of service and will require the Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales to make difficult choices in setting the level of their council tax precept. This will have a disproportionate impact on those council tax payers who will find it increasingly difficult to pay their bills.

“While decisions on the distribution of funding between police force areas are for the Home Office, I believe that police forces in Wales will be disappointed that the proposed Settlement neither supports policing in rural areas nor takes account of the additional responsibilities which policing the capital city for Wales entails.”

Local elected members Jonathan Edwards MP and Adam Price AM have blasted the Home Office after ministers claimed they were providing extra money for policing when, in reality, Tory ministers in London are expecting local taxpayers to pay more in their council tax precept.

Noting a claimed cash increase for Dyfed Powys Police of £8.1million “cash increase”, the Plaid pair point out that increase is dependent upon the Police and Crime Commissioner raising a Band D council tax precept by £24 per year.

Dyfed Powys already receives amongst the lowest funding from the Home Office of all 43 police forces in England and Wales with the council tax police precept already accounting for more than 50% of the force’s total funding.
Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament, Jonathan Edwards, echoed the comments of the Police Commissioner, saying that Tory ministers were being “deliberately deceptive”.

Assembly Member and Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price repeated calls for the devolution of policing, saying that Welsh police forces were missing out on £25million for every year that policing remained in the hands of politicians in London.

Jonathan Edwards MP said: “It’s quite galling to see the Westminster government claim it is providing extra cash to police forces when the sum it publishes is dependent upon local taxpayers plugging the gap through their police precept.

“Tory Ministers are being deliberately deceptive in telling us they’re providing extra money when in reality they are continuing to cut vital public services to the bone.

“Residents of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys already contribute more than half of the force’s funding but are being asked to put their hands in their pockets once again as London fails to deliver.

“The best way to protect our policing system is to remove it from the simplistic one-size-fits-all approach at Westminster and operate a system that is developed in Wales and works for Wales.”

Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price added: “For every year that policing remains in the hands of London politicians, figures show that Welsh police forces are losing out to the tune of £25million – around £13.5million in the case of Dyfed Powys.

“With Westminster now misleading the public on the amount of money it is providing, and with the public once again expected to pay more and more for less and less, the case for the devolution of policing to the National Assembly grows by the day and has never been stronger.”

Launching a public consultation on the proposed Police budget, Dafydd Llywelyn, the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Dyfed-Powys force said: “After a frustrating delay, the Government’s provisional grant funding settlement has been announced, which sets out the position for Dyfed-Powys Police for the 2019/20 financial year.

“The way in which the Home Office and Central Government are misleading the public is disgraceful and I am very disappointed in the way this settlement once again shifts the burden onto local taxpayers. I continue to try and do the right thing to protect our communities but I feel we are being let down by the Government in London as their actions are likely to impact on our local services.

“I am currently consulting with the residents of Dyfed-Powys; asking if they would be willing to pay additional police precept to continue to safeguard our communities. Within the survey, I have outlined the impact of for Dyfed-Powys Police and its communities. My decision will be made by listening to local communities and the professional advice of the Chief Constable.

“I am working closely with the Chief Constable to critically review all aspects of the budget requirement. Given the scale of financial challenges that are faced, a precept increase will be unavoidable, but how much this is increased by should not be dictated by Government.”

The survey can be completed here: http://bit.ly/policepreceptconsultation

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Outreach Van stationed as police commissioner responds to ‘community concenrs’

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POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn has instigated additional partnership working in Llanelli in response to local concerns relating to substance misuse.

Dyfed Powys Police is proudly teaming up with Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service (DDAS), Carmarthenshire County Council and CrimeStoppers Fearless campaign in order to engage with members of our community on a new outreach van, in order to support and signpost those in need during the festive period.

Each agency will be travelling together to Station Road in Llanelli in a new outreach van on Thursday December 12 and Monday December 16, and will be parked opposite the Premier store between 5pm and 9pm on both days.

Funded by Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn, DDAS will be offering:

•          BBV Testing for HIV, Hep B and C

•          Referral into DDAS for treatment

•          Naloxone kit dispensing

•          Harm reduction advice

•          Drug and alcohol education via drug box, beer googles, scratch and sniff cards

•          Information on safer alcohol consumption over Christmas

Officers from the council’s Homes and Safer Communities department will be in attendance to give information and advice on a range of issues including the regeneration plans for the Tyisha ward and how residents can have their say. They will also be able to advise on various housing options; and people will be able to discuss in confidence any housing matters they may have, for example, in relation to anti-social behaviour or noise nuisance.

The council’s Communities for Work team will be offering:

•          Support to develop your skills and gain experience

•          Acquire the training and qualifications you need

•          Find the right job

•          Basic IT support

•          Support with CVs and job applications

•          Volunteer and work placement opportunities

•          Health and wellbeing support

CrimeStoppers Fearless campaign workers, who are a dedicated young person’s charity which support young people in giving information about crime 100% anonymously, will also be on board the van and keen to engage with any young person in the area.  They will be educating youths about County Lines and the impact crime can have on their lives.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn stated: “I hope that this innovative delivery style of a dynamic outreach approach to substance misuse can become the norm in Llanelli in order to reduce the harm to individuals and the community. I continually listen to the communities I represent and respond.”

Dyfed Powys Police officers will also be on hand at different intervals to offer crime prevention advice and listen to and provide help and support for any issues you experience in your community.

Chief Inspector Chris Neve of Dyfed-Powys Police said: “I am grateful to the Police and Crime Commissioner and our partners for their support in this new initiative, which I hope will be seen as a valuable opportunity for the communities of Llanelli to engage with the services involved. I encourage anyone who requires support and advice from any of the agencies, or would just like to chat with any of them, to come along and visit the van on either date. This really is an important opportunity – and we all as a collective want to help as many people in need as possible.”

The council’s Head of Homes and Safer Communities Jonathan Morgan said: “This is an excellent opportunity for the community to speak to our officers first-hand about any issues they may have or any advice they may need on housing matters. We have exciting plans to transform the Tyisha ward and the community is a big part of that, we want to make Tyisha a better place to live and work for everyone.”

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Llanelli Councillor Resigns from Plaid Cymru

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SHOCK ANNOUNCEMENT JUST DAYS BEFORE THE GENERAL ELECTION

Jordan Randall, Llanelli Rural Councillor for Swiss Valley says he has resigned from Plaid Cymru because he is disappointed with the choice of Plaid candidate again for the forthcoming General Election.

The full statement, sent to The Llanelli Herald today: “This is not a decision that I’ve taken lightly but one which has been a long time coming. 
“I’ve had the privilege of being a Llanelli Rural Councillor in recent years to try my very best in making a difference where I can. I now look forward to continuing this work as an Independent Councillor for Swiss Valley, which will always be my priority. 


“I’ve been very disappointed with the choice of Plaid candidate again for the forthcoming General Election. If the party is to make any progress in the Town, then it needs a candidate who is local to the area and actually understands the everyday issues which face our communities. We do not need someone who is completely out of touch and unfortunately just sees Llanelli as a stepping stone to advance their own career. 


“Ongoing personal vendettas now seem to be the most important thing for Plaid Cymru at a local level. I no longer recognise the party. The party already lost a number of lifelong members in recent years due to the negativity locally. Astonishingly, they have also taken the decision to no longer have an all year round office presence within the Town. 
“Calls for national leadership have simply gone unanswered, with new leader Adam Price unwilling to intervene in any way to try to achieve a way forward.


“I am also not happy and have been for some time with Plaid’s position on Brexit as they are simply ignoring the wishes of the people of Llanelli as the Town overwhelmingly voted to leave in the referendum, a decision which whether people voted to Remain or Leave ought to be one which is respected. 


“Party politics is broken but I remain committed to campaigning to improve our public services, helping to sort out any concerns and supporting ideas which will strengthen and grow our community.”

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Plaid’s pro-EU Saturday push in Trimsaran

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DUBBED Pro-EU Saturday, the 30th November in Trimsaran saw the local girl and MP candidate Mari Arthur, descend on her home village of Trimsaran, to draw attention to the £680million of European Union (EU) funds that Wales receives every single year.


The only Remain candidate in Llanelli, Mari Arthur was proudly joined by Plaid Cymru regional AM Helen Mary Jones, Wales MEP Jill Evans, County Councillor Kim Broom, and a whole host of supporters, to speak with as many people as possible in the community ahead of the General Election on 12th December.


Plaid Cymru candidate Mari Arthur said: “I was thrilled to be joined in Trimsaran by so many people to talk about why EU funds have been vital for the area. We are a net beneficiary, which means that, as a nation, we get £245milion more than we pay into the EU.


“Trimsaran Leisure Centre itself is a building that received £180k from EU funds and is now the beating heart of the community. It’s great to see how this is still having a positive impact on people living in the village and further afield.”


West Wales and the Valleys is a “less developed region”, which means it is one of the “poorest regions” in Europe, as its GDP is less than 75% of the EU average. This means that £680million of EU funds comes to Wales, in the form of:


Structural Funds which amounts to just over £4 billion in extra funds to Wales since 2000, including £180,000 towards the build of Trimsaran Leisure Centre Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with £200million a year – almost a third of all EU funding in Wales – providing vital support to 16,0000 farms in Wales.


Other Funds that help support everything else, like the arts and biodiversity. Speaking from Trimsaran, Jill Evans MEP, said: “It’s wonderful to be here today in Trimsaran and to see the fantastic support on the doorstep for Plaid Cymru, and the only local candidate on the Llanelli ticket: Mari Arthur. It’s very heartening!


“Obviously, like elsewhere in Wales, there’s a real feeling of frustration on the doorstep in relation to Brexit – among those who voted to leave AND those who voted to remain three years ago. Plaid Cymru is proudly Remain, because we believe Brexit – particularly a No Deal Brexit – would be catastrophic for Wales.


“Ask yourselves this: will Westminster Government honour this level of funding, post-Brexit? It is almost certainly a No. Vote Plaid.”


Helen Mary Jones AM, also at Trimsaran Leisure Centre, said: “It was wonderful to be at Trimsaran and to have a glimpse into what the future could be like: with Kim Broom speaking up for the community at Plaid Cymru-led Carmarthenshire Council, myself at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, Jill in Brussels and then Mari at Westminster. It would be wonderful to have a team in place that could deliver comprehensive support to the community.”
The Pro-EU day highlighted the positive impact that EU funding has had on the lives of people and communities across the Llanelli constituency.

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