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Body-worn footage released after knife incident

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Two Llanelli police officers have been described as the perfect team for the way they dealt with a violent and aggressive man with a knife.

PC Hannah Jones and PC Justin Harrold were responding to a routine noise complaint when a man stormed out of his house wielding a kitchen knife with an eight inch blade.

To show the risks faced by officers every day, Dyfed-Powys Police has released “chilling” body worn camera footage from the night.

Looking back at the incident, which took place in Graig Avenue on March 15, 2020, PC Jones explained that on arrival at the house they could never have imagined what would have happened next.

“We’d been dispatched to a routine noisy neighbour call, and had no reason to believe there were any heightened risks,” she said.

“We tried knocking the front door, with no response, so we went around to the back garden to try and explain we were there to help.

“We tried to talk to him through the door, and when he opened it I could see he was holding a large knife above his head and aggressively shouting at us. He lunged towards both of us, brandishing the knife.

“I could see his aggressive nature, and had immediate concerns for our safety. I took a step back to create distance between us, but he came charging towards me with the knife.

“The attack heightened my awareness of my surroundings and I realised that I was further away from the garden exit than I initially thought.”

Time seemed to pass in slow motion for the PCs as the situation took a dangerous turn. As PC Jones raised her baton in defence, she feared they might have been seriously hurt as Jan Olav Kvaerneng-Stolp continued to lunge towards them.

The officers became separated, and PC Harrold found himself near the garden gate while PC Jones was still inside.

“I was shocked,” PC Harrold said. “In training you prepare for situations like this, but you hope they never happen.

“We are trained to get away at the sight of a knife, so my immediate priority was to create distance. In the time Hannah was distracting him, I wanted her to come out of the contained garden so was shouting for her to come towards me.

“Once she did, I drew my PAVA spray and fired it. He became quickly incapacitated dropping to the floor, and I think he dropped the knife. It all happened so quickly and could have ended very differently.”

While the officers remained calm during the incident, both later realised the seriousness of what they had faced.

PC Jones said: “Once the adrenaline had subdued, we had time to reflect on the possible outcomes.

In hindsight it was an extremely frightening experience, but thankfully our training kicked in and I acted reactively in accordance with what I have been taught.

“It took a while to realise the seriousness of what we had experienced and we were both thankful that nobody was hurt.

“It has made me realise that this job is one where even the most routine of calls can turn into something more serious than it may initially appear. I’m very thankful that neither of us was physically hurt, and I think I will be a better police officer as the result of this experience.”

The pair have been praised by Chief Inspector Jolene Mann for acting with the utmost professionalism in an extremely dangerous incident.

She said: “The officers quickly reverted to their training and safely distanced themselves from the subject. I am extremely proud of how they acted.

“The subject was violent and extremely aggressive, but Hannah and Justin responded in a calm and measured manner – they truly are remarkable.

“I watched the body worn footage and it is chilling. They had to act and think quickly, and swiftly brought the matter to a safe conclusion. I spoke to both officers after the incident, and they explained that at the time they just went into autopilot, however they were understandably frightened.

“In particular, Hannah was outstanding – she took complete control of the situation, and Justin composed himself and waited for the perfect opportunity to deploy PAVA spray. They were the perfect team.

“Daily, officers across the country lace up their boots, put on their uniforms and respond to incidents. They do it in the knowledge that they could be confronted with an unexpected threat or risk at any passing second, but they do it to protect our communities from harm.

“Our officers are your officers – an attack on them is an attack on the whole community.  It will not be tolerated.”

Jan-Olav Kvaerneng-Stolp was charged with affray and was sentenced to an 18 month community order and 200 hours of unpaid work at Swansea Crown Court on Tuesday, May 5.

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The latest increase in coronavirus in Wales is ‘sobering’ says First Minister

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THE FIRST MINISTER, Mark Drakeford has criticised the lack of communication with the UK government as he gave a briefing on what he described as the “sobering” increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalisation in Wales.

The infection rate in Wales has risen to 23.6 infections for every 100k people as cases have spiked in areas including Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly and Newport.

Hospitalisations remain low but are rising, with five people currently in intensive care with Covid-19 and and 53 Covid patients on all hospital wards, according to the latest data from Public Health Wales from Sunday, September 13.

Mr Drakeford said that the number of people in hospital with coronavirus had risen to 41 with four people in intensive care.

He also said that the R number in Wales was almost certainly now above one – meaning the virus is spreading exponentially again. The latest estimate, he said, was between 0.7 and 1.2.

Mr Drakeford said: “In this most difficult week, there has been no meeting offered to First Ministers of any sort. Since the 28 May, there has been just one brief telephone call from the Prime Minister.

“This is simply unacceptable to anyone who believes that we ought to be facing the coronavirus crisis together.

“We need a regular, reliable, rhythm of engagement: a reliable meeting even once a week would be a start. I make this argument not because we should all do the same things, but because being round the same table allows each of us to make the best decisions for the nations we represent.

“There is a vacancy at the heart of the United Kingdom, and it needs urgently to be filled, so we can talk to each other, share information, pool ideas and demonstrate a determination that the whole of the country can face these challenges together at this most difficult time.”

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Trade deal won’t benefit Wales

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EVERY week, the Herald carries political opinion pieces from across Wales’ principal political parties.

This week, Jonathan Edwards MP casts an eye over the trade deal between the UK and Japan announced this week and wonders ‘What’s in it for Wales?’

Jonathan Edwards writes: THE BUNTING was on full display in Westminster this week as the British Government announced that it had reached the holy grail of signing its first post-Brexit international trade deal.  

The agreement with Japan was described by Secretary of State Liz Truss as a ‘major moment in our national history’.  As major moments go, a casual look at the detail leaves a lot to be desired.  Effectively all the British Government has achieved is to replicate a deal UK business already benefited from as part of the EU-Japan trade deal signed in 2019.

The British Government admit that over a 15-year period the deal will only increase UK economic wealth by 0.07%.  However, under the rules of Brexit political discourse never let the facts get in the way for an excuse to sing Rule Britannia and wave the Union Jack.

During the debate in the Commons, I highlighted that the British Government’s own figures indicate in a best-case scenario it would take 71 deals of this nature to make up for the British Governments strategy for the second phase of Brexit of leaving the EU Single Market and Customs Union.  If we no deal at the end of the year the situation would be considerably worse.

For Wales, the economic benefits are projected to be less than even the negligible UK figures with the deal only expected to benefit the Welsh economy by a measly 0.05%.  The same goes for other trade deals currently being negotiated by the British Government.

Capitulating on chlorinated chicken in the US Trade deal could only benefit the Welsh economy by 0.05% over 15 years according to an excellent Senedd Research paper.  

The New Zealand and Australia deals, according to the same paper, could have a 0% impact on the Welsh economy.  

Never again can the Tories claim to be the party of business: what we are witnessing is economic madness.

The agricultural provisions in the Japan deal further fuels my fears that our farmers will be the proverbial sacrificial lambs in these trade negotiations.  True there was progress on Geographical Indicators, but the British Government failed to secure any tariff rate quotas for food products.  Instead, our farmers will only be able to utilise unused quotas by the European Union.  

Let that sink in.  

In the real world, effectively. EU export policy will determine what can be exported from the UK.

The Secretary of State emphasised that the Japan deal paved the way for entry to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  A free trade area consisting of 11 countries (down from 12 after the US pulled out).  

What the British Government are reluctant to reveal is that the TPP contains strict rules on State Aid and also includes an investor-state dispute resolution mechanism which would supersede UK domestic law.  These are the same two areas, of course, that have led to the breakdown in the second phase Brexit negotiations currently ongoing.

At the end of the day, the two great Brexit era slogans of ‘take back control’ and ‘global Britain’ are completely incompatible and inherently contradictory.

As UK international trade policy develops these inconsistencies will become apparent to all.

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Plans for Llanelli’s first ever virtual Christmas carnival

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LLANELLI Christmas Carnival will not be held this year, for the first time in its 42-year history.

Partners have confirmed that the decision has been made in line with current Welsh Government guidance and increasing concerns about the spread of coronavirus linked to large gatherings.

However, plans are afoot to celebrate Christmases past and present in the town’s first ever virtual carnival.

On what would have been ‘carnival night’ the town’s illuminations will be switched on and an online celebration will be hosted on Carmarthenshire County Council’s social media channels featuring music, opportunity to reminisce over past carnivals and a challenge to businesses and organisations to create a carnival scene for the town’s first ever virtual parade.

The town’s Christmas tree is also being relocated to a more visible location for passers-by, at the busy Gelli-Onn junction near West End.

The largest Christmas carnival in Wales, Llanelli’s festive celebrations are a joint effort by Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Town Council, Llanelli Rural Council and Llanelli Round Table.

Partners have expressed their disappointment at the decision but have vowed to keep Christmas spirit alive.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We have made this decision with a very heavy heart as we know how much the carnival means to the people of Llanelli. This is the first time since it started over 40 years ago that we have had to take a decision like this and we are as disappointed as I’m sure everyone else will be.

“We are determined to do something special to keep the tradition alive and planning is now underway to hold a virtual carnival on what would have been the night of the traditional festivities.”

Cllr Shahana Najmi, Leader of Llanelli Town Council said: “The Llanelli Christmas Carnival is the highlight in the calendar for thousands of people and whilst we’re sorry we can’t hold the traditional carnival this year, we are pleased to be working with partners on an online celebration which we hope people will get involved with and enjoy.”

Cllr Tegwen Devichand, Leader of Llanelli Rural Council, said: “Generations of families have enjoyed Llanelli’s Christmas carnival over the years and we’re disappointed that for this first time in its history we are unable to put on the parade. We hope people will understand the decision and support the plans we’re developing for the town’s first virtual carnival.”

Roger Bowen, of Llanelli Round Table, added: “Llanelli’s carnival night is an important night as it raises a great amount of money for local charities and brings many communities together with such tremendous work on the floats, which really makes the evening such a special event.  We hope that people will find other ways to give generously and support good causes in our communities.”

Further information will be released in the coming weeks about the virtual carnival and how people can get involved.

Keep an eye on Carmarthenshire County Council’s Facebook and Twitter feeds and visit newsroom.carmarthenshire.gov.wales

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