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Dafydd Llywelyn, Dyfed-Powys police and crime commissioner (pic by Richard Youle and free for use for all BBC wire partners)

Police and crime panel update on Penally asylum seekers’ camp

DYFED-POWYS Police has remained “very active” across the force area despite the additional demands of policing an asylum seekers’ camp in Pembrokeshire, the police and crime commissioner has said.

Dafydd Llywelyn was responding to a question about the impact of the Penally camp from a member of the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel at a meeting on February 5.

Mr Llywelyn said policing on a daily basis involved officers moving from one area to another when demand called for it.

But he added that “we have seen an impact of Penally in some areas” because of the resources required, mainly at the beginning last autumn when protests and counter-protests took place.

The commissioner went on to say: “What I can confirm and give you assurance is that the police have been very active across the force area, despite the fact that Penally has been an additional area.”

A report before the panel said policing the temporary camp between September and the end of December last year had required 13,919 hours of officer time.

Men inside the army barracks camp have protested about the conditions. Mr Llywelyn said he has visited it twice.

“My view is that the camp is unsuitable,” he said.

The Plaid Cymru commissioner said he’d asked Chris Philp, Minister for Immigration Compliance,  about any closure plans when they met.

“Unfortunately he could not give me more information about that timetable but that it is a temporary arrangement,” he said.

The Home Office said it has agreed to provide £2.5 million of “special grant” funding to Dyfed-Powys Police to police the camp up to September 2021. This money can only be drawn down once the total cost exceeds 1% of the force’s annual budget.

In Dyfed-Powys Police’s case, this means it would need to spend £1.12 million.

Members of the panel have resolved to write Home Secretary Priti Patel, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse and MPs in the force area, calling on the Home Office to fully reimburse Dyfed-Powys Police for all Penally costs, even if they fell below the usual 1% threshold.

In response, Mr Philp said:

“We continue to work closely in partnership with the police, local authority and other stakeholders, with a clear focus on the safety and well-being of both those accommodated at the site and local residents.

“We have already agreed to provide £2.5 million of special grant funding to Dyfed-Powys Police up to September 2021.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said the 1% rule would not be applied if the force was to apply for a further special grant after September.

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