11 May 2020
Despite current social distancing measures, Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn, has continued to maintain his scrutiny and accountability obligations successfully over the lockdown period by embracing the use of technology.
On Monday, 11th of May 2020, the Police and Crime Commissioner held a virtual public meeting of the Police and Accountability Board, where he held the Chief Constable, Mark Collins and his senior staff to account on various policing matters.
Councillors from local Town and County Councils as well as a number of young people from across the Dyfed-Powys area attended the board meeting to raise their issues.
The Police and Crime Commissioner will Chair a Policing Board every three weeks, with one every quarter being open to the public to attend to raise issues and ask questions. With current restrictions in place in terms of face to face meetings, the meeting on Monday was held virtually through Skype, with several members of the public in attendance.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn explained, “It is vital, given the current circumstances, and the changes which Dyfed-Powys Police has had to implement, that I continue to hold the Policing Board meetings, to ensure Dyfed-Powys Police is delivering a police service which meets the current needs of our communities - and I have been doing so, virtually, via video conferencing facilities.
“As I am elected in to this role by the public, and represent their voice, it was important for me personally, to ensure that we pursued with the original plans of ensuring that this week’s scheduled meeting was open to the public to attend.”
Amongst the issues that were of keen interest to the young people were how the police were policing tourists travelling to the area, and also what preparations were being made for a lockdown exit strategy.
Mr Llywelyn said, “It was a pleasure, and refreshing in many ways to welcome young people to the meeting, and to hear their views and concerns. Since the lockdown measures have been bought in, I have held three meetings of the Youth Forum I with my Youth Ambassadors over Zoom, to ensure they are aware of any relevant developments, and also so that they have a platform to raise any concerns on behalf of their peers.
“It was great to take their questions today and to have the Chief Constable, Mark Collins directly responding to them.”
Youth Ambassador, Cai Phillips added, “It is very important that young people's voices are heard during these unprecedented time, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to be one of the young people involved in the Police Accountability Board meeting. I asked the Chief Constable, Mark Collins, some important questions on behalf of the young people in my area, including what the youth offender custody safety guidelines are. It was also interesting to hear what the police are doing to prevent people travelling to rural and coastal areas during lockdown, and what the exit strategy is for policing any lift to restrictions.”
Carmarthen County Counillor, Mr Emlyn Schiavone, who was also in attendance said; “It was valuable to receive input from Young people who are on the Commissioner’s Youth Forum. They are growing up in a World that is different to my generation and it was important to receive their questions and insight. We are fortunate to have an efficient and effective Police Force in Dyfed-Powys. Altogether this was an informative and comprehensive meeting chaired by the Commissioner.”
Embracing technology facilities has been essential to ensure that there is limited disruption to the day to day work of the Office for Police and Crime Commissioner, especially in holding meetings such as the Police Accountability Board. The Office of Police and Crime Commissioner as well as Dyfed-Powys Police has seen a dramatic increase in the use of virtual technology facilities available to its employees since the lockdown measures were put in place. Data released by Dyfed Powys showed a 240% increase in Skype Audio Meeting sessions in the first two weeks of lockdown, and a 632% increase in Skype Instant Message sessions between work colleagues.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn said, “The success of these virtual sessions has shown me that we do not need to travel to all meetings nor meet in person on every occasion.
“Not only has this approach to meetings proved worthwhile in terms of lowering our carbon footprint and saving costs by reducing the miles we are travelling, but it has also improved efficiency; meetings are more streamlined and focused.”
On Wednesday 13 May 2020, the Police and Crime Commissioner will hold a virtual public meeting for Pembrokeshire residents over Skype. Anyone wishing to attend should contact the office via email on OPCC.Communication@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk .