Spotlight On Dyfed Powys Police, Life On The Other Side Of Offa’s Dyke

Another Tory Police & Crime Commissioner has come to my attention this week. In the second of my ‘Spotlight’ articles my trusty beam goes over Offa’s Dyke and into Welsh Wales.
Firstly we have Mr Salmon’s astonishing claim to be recruiting extra Police Officers. In a move similar to that in North Yorkshire, Mr Salmon has been proclaiming 30 ‘extra’ officers for months;

“This year Dyfed-Powys has 30 extra police officers and they’re spending a lot more time on the beat.”

Extra – what does that mean?

“beyond or more than what is usual, expected, or necessary; additional”

So where have these ‘extra’ officers come from?  Well, I’m not entirely certain as the official Home Office stats don’t actually show an increase in establishment of 30 officers.

  • September 2011 –    1,145
  • September 2012 –    1,120
  • March 2013 –            1,112
  • September 2013 –    1,101
  • March 2014 –            1,123
  • September 2014 –    1,164
  • March 2015 –            1,176
  • September 2015 –    1,166

September 2015 is the latest set of official stats available, so it is difficult to see which period this ‘extra’ 30 officers refers to.  Maybe he’s including PCSOs and Specials do you think?

In September 2015 there were 10 fewer PCSOs than in March 2015, so not there.  There were also 3 fewer Specials than there were in March 2015, so NO ‘extra’ officers there.  I can only assume that he is referring to some internal redistribution of officers, which doesn’t really equate to “This year Dyfed-Powys has 30 extra police officers

I’ll leave it there and move on, but you haven’t persuaded me Mr Salmon, my readers can make up their own minds, or you could tell us where they have come from.  Convenient though, just before an election.  Or, maybe it’s just another example of Tory Smoke and Mirrors.

Then I couldn’t help giggling at this newspaper headline;

Salmon on the slicks

Apparently Mr Salmon is being investigated by our old friends at IPCC for driving his official Dyfed Powys vehicle with one or more bald tyres.  Apart from the sheer embarrassment of getting caught driving a Job car with bald tyre(s) the model and nature of said vehicle caught my attention.

Our friends in the media beat me to it and submitted their own FOI request.

A Freedom of Information request has found that the BMW 530 supplied to Mr Salmon is equipped with blue lights and a siren that he cannot use. The request also states the Commissioner is entitled to claim 45p a mile in mileage expenses for use of a private vehicle.

A BMW 530 equipped with blue lights and siren?  Firstly Mr Salmon is a politician not a Police Officer, in my humble opinion he has no right to drive such a vehicle.  I am sure that the Dyfed Powys Pool is full of Focus’ and Skodas he could drive, or maybe something a little bit more up market, a Mondeo for example, without blue lights and siren.

Secondly I am sure that the Police Officers of Dyfed Powys would welcome an unliveried BMW 530 with blue lights and siren onto the fleet.  I am sure they could find a more suitable use for it every day of the week.  All I can think is that Dyfed Powys Police are so well off that they don’t have to worry about money so muchg as other Forces, unwanted, surplus BMWs lying around all over the shop.

I nearly forgot, MILEAGE.  Bronwen tells me that her boyfriend Dai is only allowed to claim 40p per mile mileage.  Some disparity there it seems, or maybe the PCC’s miles are more valuable than the Police Officers’?

All this from the Force that gave us

Dyfed-Powys in South Wales – the force where 19 days of work was rewarded with £170,000 – gave a senior officer expenses worth £54,945 when he moved house.

Carl Langley, a 48-year-old assistant chief constable, claimed the cash when he moved from Lincolnshire Police in March 2012.

and

Police chief whose move cost taxpayers £55k is probed over alleged affair with lawyer affected his work

and

Police lawyer being probed over affair with force chief now accused of giving £67,000 of work to estranged husband’s legal firm

Our friends at the Daily Mail really do seem to have it in for Mr Langley and his Force.  I have no idea if all or any of these items are true but I assume that the Daily Mail think that they are.

If you know of any more Tory PCCs seeking re-election that would benefit from ‘The Spotlight’ please let me know in the usual way and I will see what I can do with it.

 

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All Is Not Well In Dyfed Powys Police

I haven’t heard very much from them recently, so I stupidly assumed that all was well, but Dai from the Dyfed Powys Police and his girlfriend Bronwen from the canteen have both been on the phone moaning this week, and I have to say they have a very good reason to moan.

Officers and residents of Dyfed Powys have been expressing their concern about the possible loss of their nice shiny chopper.

Its base in Pembrey, Carmarthenshire is due to close in January next year, axed under planes by the National Police Air Service (NPAS).  Personally, I would expect any PCC to fight tooth and nail to save such a precious resource from the Tory axe.  Conservative Dyfed Powys PCC Christopher Salmon said he was “fighting for the best possible police air service”.  Following the decision by NPAS in February to cut the number of bases across England and Wales to 15, Mr Salmon publicly said it was “deeply disappointing”.

Towards the end of May Mr Salmon even replied to myself and others on Twitter with his response to the closure issue

Just three days ago he still appeared to be opposing the closure of Pembrey base;

But Plaid Cymru has accused Dyfed-Powys police and crime commissioner Christopher Salmon of not doing enough to save it. Mr Salmon has been quoted as publicly stating that the closure of Pembrey base was “deeply disappointing”, but Freedom of Information request submitted by Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards and AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas requesting to see the minutes of the NPAS meeting seems to indicate something different.

Having seen his copy of the NPAS Strategic Board minutes, Mr Thomas said: “The residents of Dyfed- Powys will be left speechless by the explosive information contained in the NPAS strategic board minutes. Given his recent public statements it is almost inconceivable that the police commissioner was reluctant to oppose the loss of our dedicated police helicopter. Just six months ago the commissioner announced to huge fan fair that he had reached an agreement to secure the helicopter’s future. Three months later, however, he sat in a meeting having been confronted with a change in that agreement and yet the minutes suggest he didn’t put up one shred of opposition to losing the service that serves the people he is meant to represent.

“Ultimately, the commissioner needs to decide whether he is on the same side as public opinion and prepared to join the campaign to protect the helicopter or whether he is more concerned in appeasing his Tory colleagues who are slashing police budgets and centralising services.

“Christopher Salmon should consider a public apology for his woefully inadequate representation and come clean on whether backs the retention of the helicopter and base at Pembrey.”

On a separate occasion Mr Thomas is quoted as saying;

“The residents of Dyfed- Powys will be left speechless by the explosive information contained in the NPAS strategic board minutes. Given his recent public statements it is almost inconceivable that the police commissioner was reluctant to oppose the loss of our dedicated police helicopter. Just six months ago the commissioner announced to huge fan fair that he had reached an agreement to secure the helicopter’s future. Three months later, however, he sat in a meeting having been confronted with a change in that agreement and yet the minutes suggest he didn’t put up one shred of opposition to losing the service that serves the people he is meant to represent.
“Ultimately, the commissioner needs to decide whether he is on the same side as public opinion and prepared to join the campaign to protect the helicopter or whether he is more concerned in appeasing his Tory colleagues who are slashing police budgets and centralising services.
“Christopher Salmon should consider a public apology for his woefully inadequate representation and come clean on whether backs the retention of the helicopter and base at Pembrey.”

Mr Salmon’s immediate response seems to have been;

“Our written agreement with NPAS included the retention of Pembrey as an operating base. The proposal from NPAS to close the Pembrey base only emerged last week.

“It is a deeply disappointing development and I will fight to ensure the best possible service for the people of Dyfed Powys.”

Mr Salmon’s blog on the subject of helicopter coverage and his views on the subject can be read here.

Who’s telling the truth? I don’t know.  Dai and Blodwen don’t know and it seems that the residents of Dyfed Powys and their elected representatives don’t know.  There seems to be conflicting versions of the story and I for one am not privy to the truth.  What certainly hasn’t helped is the fact that NPAS do not appear to have published details of this FOI request or their response.

It is my understanding that FOI requests, and their responses, enter into the Public Domain, but several months later I can find no trace of ANY FOI requests to NPAS or the associated responses.  This just serves to cloud the issues and helps to hide the truth.

Whatever the truth is, the Public deserves to hear it.

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