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Edwards election chopper promise

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police copterJONATHAN EDWARDS has requested a meeting with the UK’s Home Secretary Theresa May in an effort to safeguard the Dyfed-Powys Police helicopter. The returning Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr had written to Ms May before Parliament was dissolved to discuss the issue. At the time, he told the Herald that he had asked the Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb to raise the matter, but it was’ clear that he had not done so.’ Mr Edwards has written again to the Home Secretary to press the need for a review to protect the police helicopter and its base. A similar call for action by Stockton South MP James Wharton led to Mrs May requesting a review of the decision to relocate the Durham Tees valley helicopter to Newcastle.

The Dyfed-Powys police force covers the second largest land area of any UK constabulary, and is responsible for patrolling half the Welsh landmass. Scrapping the Pembrey base would mean that the nearest helicopter bases would be in Flintshire and the Vale of Glamorgan. Dyfed Powys is the largest police force in England and Wales in geographical terms, and is responsible for policing almost half of the Welsh landmass. Speaking to the Herald, Mr Edwards said: “I started this campaign before the General Election and I am determined to see it to a successful conclusion. It is a matter of common sense in terms of policing: there is no good argument to close the base or lose the helicopter.

All the facts point to the helicopter being an essential, effective and effi cient tool for our police force. As it stands we have a blatant example of cuts before effective policing. The alternative proposals have been proven beyond doubt to be unequal to the tasks that our police helicopter faces. The Dyfed Powys Police Force, which was the fi rst force in the UK to operate a Police helicopter, deserves to continue its work with their helicopter unit. I have requested a meeting with the Home Secretary so that I can put forward in the strongest possible terms the need to keep our helicopter here in Pembrey, and to protect our police services and communities.” The fate of the Pembrey base has been under discussion for some time. Dyfed-Powys and South Wales Police forces were both due to join the NPAS system in the summer of 2013, but had renegotiated over concerns regarding the amount of support they would receive.

Last November it was announced that the Dyfed-Powys helicopter would remain at Pembrey until it was replaced with like-for-like NPAS coverage. The decision made in February to close the Pembrey base was described by Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon as ‘deeply disappointing,’ and stated that the decision to join the NPAS had ‘included the retention of Pembrey as an operating base.’ Helicopters are used as a cost- effective way of searching large areas. According to Dyfed-Powys Police, a helicopter can search an area of one square mile in 12 minutes at a cost of £160. The same operation would take 12 offi cers 454 man-hours and cost £4,500. Other than search operations, the Dyfed-Powys helicopter plays a major role in transporting casualties to hospitals, which given the rural nature of the region is often essential.

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New ward extension opens at Werndale Hospital

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WERNDALE Hospital opens its £1millon ward extension, featuring a suite of new spacious patient en-suite rooms and additional light and airy ward space for new nurses’ stations, new technology and medical equipment, in pleasant and comfortable spaces. 

Werndale is part of Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare. The group is carrying out a £125 million redevelopment programme across its 50 hospitals in the UK.

Werndale has a strong history in the village of Bancyfelin, where is has been serving the local communities of Wales for over 32 years.

James Davies, Wales and Scarlets rugby player, from Bancyfelin, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Monday 1st August. His nickname “Cubby”, is reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”; this refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up. Staff and consultants were given the chance to view the new extension, with a small gathering to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this project over the last 12 months.

Jacky Jones, Executive Director of Werndale Hospital said: “The investment programme is an exciting opportunity to expand what we can offer to patients at Werndale. Our staff and consultants are delighted with this expansion which will allow us to meet the private healthcare needs of patients and families in Wales and will decrease waiting times which will positively impact the patient’s experience. Having the new patient rooms here increases our ward capacity by 20%, it is a great investment”.

Gaynor Llewellyn, Director of Clinical Services said: “At Werndale we are committed to continuous improvement of clinical facilities and services. We continually invest in the hospital so that we can offer our patients and consultants reassurance when they visit us for treatments”.

Werndale Hospital is seeing increased demand for its services across all specialities particularly orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Nearly 4,000 patients had surgery at Werndale Hospital, Bancyfelin during 2021 and the new investment will enable ward capacity to be increased by 25 per cent.

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M4 closed westbound following lorry fire near Swansea

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A SECTION of the M4 near Swansea was shut on Monday (Aug 8) due to a vehicle fire.

The westbound section of the motorway, between junction 47 at Penllergaer and junction 48 at Hendy closed.

Emergency services were called to the scene, and there was queuing traffic in the area.

Traffic monitoring service Inrix reported: “M4 Westbound closed, queueing traffic due to vehicle fire between J47 A48 (Penllergaer / Swansea West Services) and J48 A4138 Pontardulais Road”

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Police appeal after Llanelli assault: victim required hospital treatment

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DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating an assault which occurred on Regalia Terrace, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire at about 12.05am, Sunday 3rd July.

The victim required hospital treatment.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the person in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the person is, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DP-20220703-011

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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