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Police and Crime

Offenders to pay back society more visibly under £90 million plan

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Offenders’ community punishments will be better focused on paying back society, the Deputy Prime Minister vowed today.

Up to £93 million extra will be invested over the next 3 years to increase the community work undertaken by offenders to around 8 million hours per year.

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The funding will be used to recruit 500 more community work supervisors and develop new national partnerships between the Probation Service and major organisations. There will be a particular focus on outdoor projects that help improve the environment and allow the public to see justice being done.

Offenders will clean up hundreds of miles of rivers and canals every year under the first such agreement. The deal with the Canal and River Trust will see offenders make reparation to their local communities by clearing litter, tidying tow paths and maintaining beauty spots along the 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.

The move is designed to restore the public’s confidence in community sentences by ensuring offenders are visibly atoning for their crimes in a way which benefits local people.

Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab MP said: “It is right that the offenders who have damaged their communities should be seen to pay back with their time and some hard graft.

“With new projects such as the one run by The Canal and River Trust offenders will learn new skills and do their bit clearing and maintaining our country’s waterways.”

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Offenders will wear a high-visibility “Community Payback” tabard while they work, and the initiative will also provide training opportunities for them to develop skills to boost their employability.

Probation services have previously worked with the Canal and River Trust on projects in the West Midlands and London and this new partnership will see that type of work replicated and expanded across England and Wales.

The government is aiming to sign a range of partnerships with national organisations over the coming months and is working with local authorities and Police and Crime Commissioners to identify new projects. It comes after the creation of the new Probation Service in June which saw the government take on the delivery of unpaid work.

Community Payback will see a renewed focus on cleaning up streets, alleyways, housing estates and other open spaces, helping to cut crime and the fear of crime, and making a real difference to the quality of life for local people in neighbourhoods most affected by crime and anti-social behaviour.

More than £300 million worth of extra funding has been pumped into the Probation Service since July 2019 helping to more than double the recruitment of trainee probation officers to a record high of 1,500 this financial year. Combined with the innovative use of tags, it means staff can keep a closer eye on the most dangerous offenders and ensure many more take up the opportunity to reform their criminal ways.

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(Lead image: West Midlands Police / Wikimedia)

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Port Talbot

Police launch appeal to find missing disabled woman

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South Wales Police have launched an appeal to find missing Waunarlwydd woman, Kelly Randell.

45 year-old Kelly was last seen in Port Talbot on Tuesday 3 May.

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A wheelchair user with one leg, Kelly is described as being around 5ft of medium build with brown hair which is tied up – possibly in a bun.

She was last seen wearing black jeans and a black coat.

She has links to both Swansea and Port Talbot.

South Wales Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen Kelly, or who has information which will help them to find her, to contact them online or by calling 101 quoting occurrence number 2200149152.

(Lead image: Family photo / South Wales Police)

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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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