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Police release dramatic video of knife wielding man after PC trying to help is threatened

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”


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Carmarthenshire

Proposed locations for controversial new hospital site to be reviewed

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Hywel Dda University Health Board will undertake a review of potential sites as part of the ongoing process to identify a suitable location for a new hospital.

Eleven sites will be assessed on Friday 22 October, including those identified by members of the public during the six-week engagement exercise, which took place earlier this year.

This stage of the process is intended to lead to the creation of a shortlist of sites. This will be subject to further detailed appraisal with significant public and wider stakeholder involvement. The final decision about the chosen site will be made by the health board, in agreement with Welsh Government.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The building of a new hospital is a major long-term project, which is why we place great emphasis on being open and transparent about the process involved.

“The process we are following includes developing a programme business case to support our strategy for community and hospital-based health and care. As part of the process to apply for funding from the Welsh Government, we will submit the programme business case, and then individual outline business cases, then the final business cases for the new infrastructure we will need. The health board will therefore engage with the public on a regular basis between now and the submission of the final business cases to ensure your views are fully considered.

“I understand and recognise there are passionate feelings about a new hospital, but we strongly believe a new facility is essential for urgent and planned care in the south of the Hywel Dda area. It will provide trauma care and be the main emergency department for the south of our area.

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“I can also reassure the public that we have no plans or intention to close either Glangwili or Withybush hospitals. We will engage further on how these hospitals could work alongside the proposed new hospital.”

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Carmarthenshire

‘Four Tys’ housing blocks in Llanelli set to be demolished

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Carmarthenshire County Council has appointed a contractor to demolish housing blocks in Tyisha commonly known as ‘the Four Tys’.

The demolition work, which is set to begin at the end of November, will enable the build of a modern, mixed-use housing development, which the council say will better meet the needs of the community, as well as improvements to existing homes and the creation of community facilities and green spaces.

Cllr Linda Davies Evans, chair of the Transforming Tyisha steering group and cabinet member for housing said: “I am delighted that we have reached this important milestone in the Transforming Tyisha project. The demolition of the ‘Four Tys’ will evoke powerful memories for many people who have lived and worked in Tyisha, but will mean that we can develop the housing and facilities that the community wants, needs and deserves.

“Local residents and businesses who may be impacted by the demolition process will be contacted before any work begins and throughout the process to ensure minimum disruption.”

This forms a part of the council’s plans to regenerate the Tyisha ward and the wider Llanelli town centre area.

The council is also seeking a partner to develop new housing and create a vibrant community. An early market engagement exercise is currently live which gives potential partners the opportunity to express their interest in working with the council to transform the area.

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‘Fresh and innovative ideas’ for the project can be submitted to the council until December 7.

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Carmarthenshire

Health board and councils urge families to look after recovering patients to free up hospital beds

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photo of woman lying in hospital bed

A joint statement from Hywel Dda Health Board, Welsh Ambulance Trust and Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion Councils is calling on families of recovering hospital patients to look after their loved ones at home in order to free up hospital beds.

The statement says that the demand on health and social care services is leading to significant delays including bed shortages and long ambulance waits at A&E departments.

The statement says: “There is currently an unprecedented demand on health and social care services across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, which is leading to significant delays in care provision. Put simply, the difficulty in discharging medically-fit patients from hospital – many of whom have complex personal circumstances and needs – is leading to significant bed shortages, and consequently, lengthy ambulance waits at the ‘front door’ of A&E departments, which mean that paramedics are unable to respond to other 999 calls in the community.

“Social care and Health teams are doing everything possible to support people who are well enough to leave hospital but need ongoing care. Priority is being given to the most vulnerable, and alternative health and care packages are being offered as a short-term measure. More carers and health staff are also being recruited to support people in need.

They added: “If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is well enough to go home, but is waiting to be discharged with homecare and community health support, you may be able to help them to get home more quickly if you and your family are in a position to support them at home. If your relative is waiting for a formal package of care, you may be able to offer support and care on a short term, temporary arrangement or you might want to consider whether your loved one could be supported in a temporary residential or nursing care setting. If you feel that this is an option that you could consider, please speak to the ward manager or your social worker to explore further.

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“Spending as little time in hospital is better for patients and means that NHS beds can be freed up for others with urgent care needs. Supporting older patients to get home from hospital efficiently is an important part of their recovery and it also protects them from negative consequences of hospital admission, such as hospital acquired infection, falls and a loss of independence.”

The move comes despite an additional £551m in extra funding being promised by Welsh Government in August.

The military also stepped in to help the Welsh Ambulance Service this week.

Lead image: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels.com)

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