Eight assaults every day were committed against Welsh emergency workers during the first six months of this year, new figures have revealed.
More than 1,360 assaults were committed in the six-month period from 01 January 2021 – 30 June 2021.
They included kicking, slapping, head-butting and verbal abuse, and ranged from common assault to serious premediated attacks involving grievous bodily harm.
At least 21 incidents involved a weapon.
With Christmas fast approaching – the time of year when assaults traditionally spike – emergency workers are asking the public to treat them with respect.
Jason Killens, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been a fraught time for all of us, but that’s no excuse to assault an emergency worker, who are normal human beings just trying to do a job.
“The run-up to Christmas means more people are out enjoying the revelry, and with alcohol consumption comes an increase in assaults, both physical and verbal.
“There were 60 verbal attacks alone on our ambulance control room staff in the first six months of the year.
“We know it’s distressing when you’re waiting for help, but abusing our call handlers is not the answer – if anything, it could potentially delay help.
“On the road meanwhile, crews might have no choice but to leave a scene if their safety is compromised, and that’s not helpful for anyone, especially the patient.
“The debt of gratitude we owe to our emergency workers has never been greater, so we’re asking the public to work with us, not against us this Christmas.”
Almost half (47%) of assaults in the six-month period took place in South East Wales; Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Bridgend are among the most prolific local authority areas.
Offenders aged 26-35 account for the highest portion of offending (24%), while a third of incidents involved people under the influence of alcohol.
May 2021 saw the highest volume of assaults (281) as the hospitality industry re-opened in Wales after the second Covid-19 lockdown.
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, there have been at least 36 incidents where an emergency worker has been deliberately coughed at.
Assaults on police account for two thirds (67%) of the total number, averaging 152 victims every month in the six-month period.
Claire Parmenter, Temporary Chief Constable at Dyfed Powys Police, said: “Assaults on police officers continue to increase and this is completely unacceptable.
“Assault is a traumatic offence that causes great distress to anyone, and it is no different when the victim is an emergency worker.
“In September, we saw a man handed a 26-week prison sentence suspended for two years after he violently attacked two of our police officers who had gone to his aid.
“Concerned for his safety, they gave him a lift home – and in return both were physically injured.
“The psychological impact on both officers is something they will take time to recover from.
“In the same month alone, three officers carrying out their duties suffered injuries in an unprovoked attack at the hands of the man they were trying to arrest.
“Despite the offender’s efforts, the officers were able to arrest him although they were left with injuries.
“The offender appeared in court the day after his arrest, where he was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
“Assaults such as these stay with the victims for the rest of their careers, and none of my officers and staff should have to go to work serving the public and be afraid of being assaulted.
“With the upcoming season of goodwill, please respect and protect our emergency workers.”
Although fewer in number – 22 incidents over the six-month period – March 2021 saw an unexplained rise in assaults on fire service colleagues, especially in South Wales.
Chief Fire Officer Huw Jakeway QFSM from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Our emergency services work hard every day keeping the public safe and should not have to deal with abuse.
“Attacks on crews while protecting our communities and keeping people safe is completely unacceptable.
“Our blue light services come to work to serve and protect the public and the impact of such assaults can lead to life-changing consequences for those involved.
“This type of behaviour is, of course, carried out by a very small minority, and we once again thank our communities for their continued support in working with us this festive season to stay safe.”
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 and NHS workers.
Judith Paget, Chief Executive of NHS Wales, said: “Our emergency workers provide life-saving and life-changing care every day in often difficult circumstances.
“Our NHS staff are preparing for a challenging Christmas period so now, more than ever, they deserve to be treated with respect.
“Any form of attack on our emergency workers is completely unacceptable and we are doing everything we can to work with NHS Wales employers and our partner agencies to eradicate physical or verbal assaults on staff.”
Last week, UK Government announced that it was introducing a new law that will mean a mandatory life sentence for those who kill an emergency worker in the course of their duty.
The Ministry of Justice said it would aim to pass ‘Harper’s Law’ in England and Wales – in memory of Thames Valley Police PC Andrew Harper, who was killed in the line of duty in 2019 – as soon as possible.
The With Us, Not Against Us campaign was launched in May 2021 by the Joint Emergency Service Group in Wales to try and reduce the number of assaults on emergency workers.
Eight people have lost £58k in the last week to criminals in ‘courier fraud’ – with Llanelli area being hit hardest
Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating a growing number of reports of people posing as bank staff or police officers, as eight people have lost £58,000 to criminals in the last week alone due to ‘Courier Fraud’.
This increase is particularly prevalent in the Llanelli area.
DC Gareth Jordan from the Economic Crime Team said: “People posing as fake bank staff or police officers have been calling residents and persuading them their accounts have been compromised, then sending a courier to collect the money. This is known as Courier Fraud.
“In the past week alone we have seen eight people lose a significant amount of money between them, and it’s very distressing for those victims. We are asking friends and family to look out for those that could be vulnerable – talk to them about this scam, advise them to be vigilant, and report any suspicious calls.
“Please remember that police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a ‘safe’ account.”
Dyfed Powys Police warn that if someone is claiming to be a police officer asks you to withdraw money for safe keeping or that they’re investigating the bank staff, it’s a scam.
The police, or your bank, will never ask you to assist in an internal investigation. They will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN either. Never hand your card over with the PIN number.
And the police will never send someone to your home to collect money, nor will they ask you to transfer funds out of your account.
Top Tips to protect yourself from fraudsters
Stop: Always take a moment to think before parting with your money or information – it could keep you safe.
Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam and report it to the police.
Report suspicious emails to: email@example.com
You can also report suspicious texts by forwarding the original message to 7726, which spells SPAM on your keypad.
Anyone who thinks they have fallen victim to a scammer should report it by calling 101, or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. For further advice and information on how to avoid being scammed visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Four men fined £6,000 for ‘barbaric’ illegal foul hook fishing
Four men caught using a barbaric and illegal fishing method by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) enforcement officers during patrols of the River Loughor, near Llanelli, have been fined a total of £6,000.
They each appeared before Llanelli Magistrates Court on 16 and 17 June and pleaded guilty to the offence of foul hooking – also known as snatching – which is prohibited under Section 1 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
They were fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay £10,300 to NRW for investigation costs.
The men were caught by NRW fisheries enforcement officers who were undertaking riverbank patrols of the River Loughor in summer 2021, working to address and prevent the use of foul hook fishing.
Each fish caught using the foul hooking method had been snagged on its tail, back or flank. All fishing equipment and illegally caught fish were seized by NRW and later confiscated by the court.
Alun Thomas, Senior Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “Foul hook fishing is barbaric, unethical and illegal. This method of fishing is not only indiscriminate on what species or size fish that are killed, but also inflicts untold damage to unseen numbers of fish which are likely to die of their injuries soon after. This is often made worse by using deliberately tampered fishing lures.
“NRW’s Fisheries Enforcement Officers and police take these incidents seriously, as do the courts. Hopefully, the small minority of anglers considering using illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines issued by the courts.”
Romuald Krzysztof Biernacki of Dwyfor, Llanelli, was caught using the foul hooking method on 4 July 2021. He had illegally caught four mullets and six flounder fish.
Biernacki was fined £1,500 and made to pay part of NRW’s investigation costs of £2,500.
Hung Van Tran, travelled from his Gibson Road home in Handsworth, Birmingham, to fish on river Loughor on 25 August 2021. NRW fisheries enforcement officers discovered he had illegally caught four mullet fish using the foul hook method.
Hung Van Tran was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay part of NRW’s investigation costs of £1,800.
Duc Duy Tran of Brithweynydd, Tonypandy, and Tan Van Tran of Pentrebane Street, Caerphilly, were caught during another river patrol carried out by NRW fisheries enforcement officers accompanied by Dyfed-Powys Police’s Wildlife Crime Officer on 6 September 2021.
Duc Duy Tran had illegally caught 14 mullet fish and was fined £1,500. He must also pay £3,000 to NRW for investigation costs.
Tan Van Tran had illegally caught four mullet fish. He was fined £1,500, plus £3,000 to NRW for investigation costs.
Alun Thomas added: “We would like to thank Dyfed-Powys Police, the local community and law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities. I urge them to continue to report such activity and we will investigate.
“We would encourage anyone going fishing to familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations before going.”
(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)
Man who filmed rape of Ammanford woman on victim’s phone jailed for 10 years
A man who filmed himself raping a woman on his victim’s phone has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept in Ammanford on 21 August 2021.
Hassan, who was midway through his trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing, changed his plea to guilty after the jury was shown the video of the attack.
He was back before Swansea Crown Court today and was sentenced to 10 years in prison .
Senior Investigating Officer DI Melanie Havard said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation and trial.
“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.
“We appreciate this is not easy for anyone to do but the victim has expressed her gratitude to the officer in the case for her support and empathy throughout this process.
“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.”
New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Neath Abbey Welsh medium primary school given go-ahead
Maggie’s making a big difference for adults with learning disabilities
Ambitious plans for city’s future unveiled
West Wales car dealership to double in size
Are cats man’s new best friend? Surge in demand throughout lockdown
New trains for Wales and Borders services go on show
Pontarddulais school’s physical education department supported by Amazon
Swansea man’s delight as he scoops combined £37,000 cash-and-car prize
Logan Mwangi: Three sentenced for murder
Council to review Swansea Valley ‘Super School’ decision made by previous administration
Twelve men arrested in cannabis raids in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot
Major Swansea road closures announced as city prepares to welcome back airshow
Joe’s Ice Cream to celebrate 100th birthday with rebrand and grand reopening
Everything you need to know about the JCP Swansea Half Marathon ahead of race day
Port Talbot school’s shipping container shop lets people ‘pay what they can’ to combat cost of living crisis
Specialist police to patrol Swansea’s beaches and parks this Summer
Commonwealth Games baton relay to visit Carmarthenshire
Council awarded over £8m for new cycle and walking routes in Swansea
Tower crane helping transform former nightclub site
Swansea 7 year-old girl badly burned by buried disposable BBQ on beach
Education5 days ago
Plans for Neath Port Talbot’s first Welsh medium primary ‘starter school’ to be discussed by new council cabinet
Education3 days ago
Council to review Swansea Valley ‘Super School’ decision made by previous administration
Fitness5 days ago
Tyson Fury comes to Swansea as Ware-house Gym celebrates first anniversary
Theatre4 days ago
A night to celebrate all that is Grand about The GRAND
Food & Drink6 days ago
Proposal to ban tea and coffee for under 16s in Wales branded ‘illiberal’
FlixBus5 days ago
Swansea coach operator joins FlixBus network
Arts and Entertainment4 days ago
Parents warning over ‘Huggy Wuggy’ teddy bear videos that sing of hugging and killing
Transport for Wales2 days ago
New trains for Wales and Borders services go on show