CCTV proves invaluable during fast-paced incidents

CCTV cameras led to three people being arrested following disturbances in Carmarthen, charges for robbery and handling stolen goods, and a vulnerable missing person being found safe over the weekend.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers are highlighting the importance of the cameras after they were used during a number of fast-paced incidents in Carmarthen and Tenby over the past few days.

Carmarthen sergeant Elinor Evans said: “Our CCTV cameras have proved invaluable, providing live-time information to officers on the ground, who in these instances were looking for men causing a disturbance, a suspect in relation to a robbery, and someone whose welfare we were concerned about.

“While officers are carrying out enquiries on the streets, our CCTV operators are able to quickly scan cameras and relay important information to guide their next move.

“I’d like to thank both the operators and officers involved in these incidents over the weekend for their quick-thinking and excellent efforts which resulted in great outcomes.”

On Saturday, two men were arrested and charged after businesses in Carmarthen town centre reported disturbances, aggressive behaviour and damage being caused at their premises. A CCTV operator reviewing cameras in the area led officers to a car park, where they were arrested.

Gary Lomas, aged 37, and 39-year-old Marcin Tarka were later charged with vehicle interference, criminal damage, and a public order offence. Lomas was also charged with assaulting an officer and burglary. A third man was arrested and released without charge.

Also in Carmarthen, a wanted man was spotted on CCTV running down an alleyway on Monday afternoon. Officers swiftly attended and were guided by a CCTV operator, where they found the suspect, along with another man. Christopher Evans, aged 30, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with robbery and theft, while Gwion Davies, aged 29, also of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with handling stolen goods.

Cameras also helped officers to find a man who concerns had been raised over by a neighbouring police force. Officers were tasked with looking for the man who had been reported missing from a hospital, however information about his location was limited.

Once it was established he might have been in the Tenby area, a CCTV operator immediately started live monitoring cameras in the town, and spotted a man matching his description – although he was wearing different clothes to those it was thought he was dressed in.

Taking decisive action, he reported this to officers who were deployed to the area. The man was located, confirmed to be the missing person, and was taken back to his home force.

Sgt Evans said: “Some excellent work went into finding this extremely vulnerable man, with swift action taken to get officers to Tenby town centre the minute he was spotted on camera.

“There was such limited information to suggest where he could have gone, that without CCTV cameras I have no doubt this search would have taken a significant length of time and a large number of officers.”

The CCTV team was established in June 2019, and currently has access to view 150 cameras across the force area. The wide spread of cameras were installed as part of Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn’s commitment to secure the return of CCTV, and allow operators to scan areas such as town centres quickly, saving crucial time.

“With over 400 incidents a month on average being monitored, the CCTV infrastructure is a powerful tool that supports police officers that are out and about on the ground,” Mr Llywelyn said.

“It’s all about making sure our communities are as safe and secure as possible and it is very encouraging to see the positive impact the CCTV infrastructure, its centralised monitoring suite and our team of CCTV operators are having on policing throughout the force.”

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