DAFYDD Llywelyn, Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner has written an open letter to Home Secretary Rt. Hon Priti Patel MP in response to the news that a military base in Penally, Pembrokeshire could be used to house 250 asylum seekers while their claims are being processed.
Dafydd Llywelyn said:
“I am deeply concerned about the lack of clarity relating to the proposed arrangements. Greater strategic planning and engagement is needed to ensure we support and safeguard these vulnerable individuals and respond to local concerns.”
The letter goes on to say:
” I write to express my significant concerns in relation to the lack of a clear strategy, detail and consultation surrounding these plans. I was not suitably reassured by your officials of the existence of any detailed planning, impact assessment or implementation arrangements on a practical level. Alongside other agencies, a number of practical concerns were communicated to your officials that I hope can be addressed.
You will be aware that this evening a protest was held at the proposed site and that since the news has been in the public domain local concerns have been raised. I believe that this largely stems from the lack of consultation and limited information being provided. You will know that in 2016, communities within the Dyfed Powys area successfully supported the Syrian Vulnerable Person Relocation Programme. This was achieved through careful planning and significant community engagement, ensuring that the local community felt a part of the decision making. I repeat to you the comments that I made at yesterday’s meeting in that there is an urgent need for greater clarity on the strategic plan and considerable engagement to ensure we support and safeguard these vulnerable individuals whilst addressing local concerns.
I am personally unable to fully understand the rationale for selecting the Penally site and would like clarification on how this decision was reached and how the proposed logistics will work. Asylum seekers, upon arrival at the UK, will have to travel a further 5 hours and 300 miles to a proposed site in Penally, Pembrokeshire albeit there will be no power to detain once at the site. The site and the local community is unlikely, in my opinion, to have the necessary infrastructure to support their needs and the location of the site would make accessing services unnecessarily difficult for vulnerable individuals.
I fully realise that difficult decisions need to be made in the interests of both those seeking asylum and our local communities and therefore trust that you will understanding and support of my position of wanting detailed planning, community engagement and transparency of decision making.”