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Dyfed Powys Police

New sentencing guidelines for those who assault emergency workers come into effect today

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New guidelines to help courts determine how to sentence those who assault an emergency worker come into effect today (Thursday 1 July 2021).

The Sentencing Council guidelines will help courts in England and Wales to make a balanced assessment of the seriousness of the offence and impose a proportionate sentence.

It is the first time that judges and magistrates will have specific guidance for sentencing assault on emergency worker offences, which reflects legislation that increased the maximum sentence for common assault when the victim is an emergency worker. 

The emergency services in Wales, where assaults on police, fire and ambulance crews have increased, have welcomed the new guidelines.

More than 4,240 assaults were committed against emergency workers in Wales between April 2019 and November 2020 (Image: Welsh Ambulance Services Trust)

Dylan Parry, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Violence and Aggression Project Officer, said: “A split-second act of violence can have a devastating and long-term impact on our staff, so we need to ensure that when an emergency worker is assaulted, justice is delivered for them.

“These new guidelines are a welcome addition and bring clarity and consistency when sentencing such offences.”

South Wales Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Mark Travis said: “Our blue light services come to work to serve and protect the public.

“To enable us to do that, staff need to feel safe and confident, free from the threat of being abused or assaulted.

“Assaulting emergency workers can have life-changing consequences for the offender and for their family, sometimes for an irrational decision made in a moment.

“We will relentlessly pursue anyone who assaults emergency workers, and are pleased to see that the new guidance reflects this.”

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Gwent Police’s Chief Constable Pam Kelly said: “Every assault on an emergency worker has a devastating impact on their friends, families and loved ones.

“This announcement is a step forward to ensuring that those individuals who commit a crime by assaulting an emergency worker are held to account.

“The guidance provided to judges and magistrates will ensure that sentences are proportionate but also reflect the hurt and pain inflicted by offenders.”

Under the Assault on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act, the definition of an emergency worker includes police, fire and ambulance staff, as well as prison staff, search and rescue workers and NHS workers. (Image: Welsh Ambulance Services Trust)

Temporary Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police Claire Parmenter said: “Beneath the uniform is a person who has family, friends and loved ones.

“Nobody should expect to come under any sort of attack when doing their best to serve the public and potentially save lives.

“We welcome these new sentencing guidelines.

“It is important that sentences reflect the harm and upset caused to these victims –professionals doing their work.”

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Assistant Chief Constable Sacha Hatchett of North Wales Police said: “Every day our officers, staff and volunteers deal with very difficult and challenging situations putting themselves in harm’s way to uphold the law and protect the public.

“They must be able to carry out their duties as safely as possible.

“Being assaulted is not and should never be regarded as ‘part of the job’.

“It is wholly unacceptable for them to be threatened, attacked, verbally abused or spat at – and those responsible should face the full force of the law.

“These attacks have a lasting impact and we wholeheartedly welcome the new sentencing guidelines.”

Under the Assault on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018, the definition of an emergency worker also extends to prison staff, search and rescue workers and NHS workers.

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Darren Hughes, Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said: “Staff working in the NHS do a difficult job, often working in emotionally testing circumstances, and they are there to help people.

“Being exposed to assaults or any other inappropriate behaviour is totally unacceptable.

“We welcome the guidance, which will reflect the seriousness of the offences and the impact on emergency workers, both physically and emotionally.”

More than 4,240 assaults were committed against emergency workers in Wales in the period April 2019 – November 2020, representing a monthly average increase from 202 in 2019 to 222 in 2020, or 10%.

Assaults ranged from kicking, punching and head-butting to spitting and verbal abuse.

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Tony Dicken, District Crown Prosecutor for CPS Cymru Wales, said: “These new guidelines formally require courts to apply an appropriate uplift to sentences for offences of assaulting an emergency worker.

“They also require sentencers to state in open court that the offence was aggravated by reason of the victim being an emergency worker and also to state what the sentence would have been without that element of aggravation.

“This means that it will be clear to defendants and the general public just how seriously the law views these offences.”

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The Sentencing Council’s Her Honour Judge Rosa Dean added: “Assault is a traumatic offence and can cause great distress to the victim both physically and psychologically, and it is important that sentences reflect the harm and upset that can be caused to many people.

“The guidelines will ensure appropriate and proportionate sentences are imposed for these offences that fully recognise the level of harm caused to the victim.”

In 2018, the maximum sentence under the Assault on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act was doubled from six months to 12 months in prison, but criminals could soon face up to two years in prison under new laws.


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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Ammanford

Police appeal after cyclist dies in Garnant accident

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Dyfed Powys Police have issued an appeal after a cyclist died in a single vehicle road traffic collision on Friday (6 May).

The accident took place around 8.45pm outside the Discovery Book Shop on Cwmamman Road in Garnant, Ammanford.

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A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police said: “Sadly the 58 year-old male rider of the pedal cycle sustained serious injuries and passed away in hospital.

“We are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen the pedal cycle at the relevant time, or who may have dashcam footage if they travelled along this stretch of road at the time, to get in touch.

“Also local residents and business owners are asked to contact Police if they have any CCTV footage covering the location.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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