A POLICE officer who found a high risk missing person, only to be threatened with a knife, has spoken out to highlight the dangers he and his colleagues face.
Dyfed-Powys Police PC Mark Thomas was fortunate not to be injured during the incident, but says he should never have been subjected to the threat of harm by the person he was trying to help.
The Roads Policing Unit officer was on duty on November 16 when he was tasked to help look for Jack Griffiths, who had had been reported missing a short time earlier and was believed to be walking along the A48 near Cross Hands.
As PC Thomas pulled into a car park, he noticed a man matching the 18-year-old’s description, and called over to check if he was ok.
Fearing for Griffiths’s safety being so close to the dual carriageway, the officer approached to check if he was ok. But he couldn’t have anticipated what would happen next.
“As I was within reaching distance, he started running and withdrew something from his clothes, “PC Thomas said. “I didn’t immediately realise that it was a silver kitchen knife.
“As I got closer, he turned towards me and swung the knife at me in a slashing motion across my chest. I would say this was inches away.
“I pushed him to the floor to try and stop him, and he fell to the ground, swinging the knife at me again – this time slashing across my shins.”
Concerned he had been injured, PC Thomas stopped, and his colleague PC Leighton Webb continued the chase.
Griffiths made off over a fence, and due to the risk PC Thomas believed might have been posed to other members of the public, he deployed his taser.
He was arrested by PC Webb, who waded into a river to reach him.
Fortunately, PC Thomas sustained minor injuries during the incident, and was able to remain on duty – but he is aware just how different the outcome could have been.
“Now I have had time to start to process this incident I can’t quite believe what happened,” he said “I’m thankful that the knife Griffiths used to assault me wasn’t sharper, or he could have seriously injured my legs and chest.
“I dread to think what some of the potential consequences of this incident could have been.”
Griffiths was charged with threatening a person with a blade/sharply pointed article in a public place, and was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. He must complete a rehabilitation requirement of 20 days, pay costs of £85, a victim surcharge of £128 and compensation of £200.
Following sentencing, PC Thomas spoke out to highlight the risks police officers face in carrying out their day-to-day duties.
“Although I am a police officer, I do not go to work to be threatened, or to fear for my safety at the hands of someone with a weapon,” he said.
“I attended the call to try and help, and this was how he repaid me.”
Public Services Board seeks views to improve local well-being
CARMARTHENSHIRE’S Public Services Board (PSB) is seeking residents’ views to find out what matters to them and their local communities.
The PSB has developed its Well-being Objectives and draft actions to deliver them, based on feedback received on its Well-being Assessment. The results of a survey at that time gathered views and helped shape the PSB’s understanding of the economic, social, environmental, and cultural factors that impact the well-being of individuals and communities within Carmarthenshire.
Once again, residents are being asked to contribute to help public service partners develop Carmarthenshire’s Local Well-being Plan for 2023-28.
To help shape the future of well-being please visit: Current Consultations (gov.wales)
The survey closes on 25 January 2023.
Cllr Darren Price, Chair of the Carmarthenshire PSB and Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “To deliver what is important to our communities, we need to their feedback and input. This survey is an opportunity for our residents to tell us if we, as public services, are on the right track to help create a better future for our children’s generation, and the generations to follow, as we strive to reach this goal.”
Andrew Cornish, Vice-Chair of the PSB andChief Executive Officer / Principal of Coleg Sir Gar and Coleg Ceredigion said: “Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our work so far. Our Well-being Assessment gives us a strong foundation on which to build our Well-being Plan and I would like to encourage everyone to take part in our involvement work for the preparation of the Plan.”
Carmarthenshire’s Public Services Board is a partnership of public and third sector organisations working together to improve well-being across the county and includes Carmarthenshire County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Natural Resources Wales and other organisations.
Llanelli prepares for Sunday’s Remembrance Day parade
LATER TODAY (Sunday, November 13) the town will honour those who have fallen in service over the decades.
A number of roads will be closed on the day, including Murray Street, Church Street and Vauxhall Road from its junction with the mini roundabout.
These will be shut for the parade between 8.30am and noon, however, pedestrian access for those wishing to reach individual properties in those streets will be maintained where possible throughout the duration of the closure.
Traffic will be diverted to Robinson Street, Arthur Street, Columbia Row, Anne Street, Bigyn Road, Stepney Place, Water Street, Thomas Street and Gelli Onn.
At 10am, police, organisations and others not marching in the parade will take up their respective positions in front of the cenotaph in the town hall grounds, while the civic party will assemble inside Llanelli Town Hall.
At 10.15am the parade leaves Drill Hall for the town hall with the mayor Cllr Philip Warlow proceeding to the Boer War Memorial where he will lay a wreath.
When the parade arrives at the town hall, the civic party will proceed to the cenotaph where the Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed Sara Edwards, will lay a wreath.
This will be followed by the chair of Carmarthenshire Council Cllr Rob Evans, laying a wreath on the Royal Welch War Memorial and then on the town’s cenotaph.
More wreaths will be laid by dignitaries and politicians and ex-servicemen and women A two-minute silence will then be observed at 11am.
Any service groups or individuals who wish to lay a wreath on Remembrance Sunday can contact Paul Wickers via email at email@example.com.
While community organisations are to contact Llanelli Town Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact should be made by Monday, October 31 at the very latest to confirm arrangements as no additional wreaths will be able to be accommodated on the day.
Llanelli choir launches fundraising naked calendar
MEMBERS of a Llanelli female choir have bared all to raise money for the town’s Ty Bryngwyn Hospice.
Côr Curiad has created a cheeky fundraising calendar for 2023 – the second one they have done.
With around 50 members, photos were taken across Llanelli with strategically placed items to spare their blushes – all in the name of a good cause.
Llanelli photographer Graham Harries was behind the lens for the project.
The choir’s musical director Alex Esney, who is Miss December in the calendar said: “Local businesses sponsored the calendar and so many of the photos were taken at their premises.
“So for example we went to LTC Mobility Ltd and had scooters carefully positioned in front of us, it was a lot of fun.
“I also want to thank Ffwrnes Theatre for opening up especially for me to go and have my photo taken with the piano there.”
Alex said the aim is to raise as much as possible for the hospice, adding: “We did a calendar a few years ago but we now have more members so we thought it was time to do it all again.
“The ladies decided to ‘bare all’ to raise money for the hospice which provides such great care and support for families in their time of need, including two of our own.
“I think we pulled out all the stops this year, getting their clothes off at local businesses in and around Llanelli.”