News in brief: Dyfed-Powys PC dismissed for ‘inappropriate sexual behaviour’ towards colleagues
A Dyfed-Powys Police officer has been dismissed from his post with immediate effect following a hearing into accusations of inappropriate sexual behaviour.
PC Simon England first appeared before an independent panel in April 2019, following complaints which included inappropriate touching of colleagues with sexual intent.
PC England fully admitted the alleged conduct in its entirety and accepted that it amounted to gross misconduct. However, he did not believe that his conduct justified his dismissal from the force.
Following a judicial review into the 2019 hearing, this week PC England was brought before another panel, overseen by Legally Qualified Chair, Mrs Sally Olsen.
The Panel found his behaviour amounted to serious breaches of the standards of professional behaviour relating to authority, respect and courtesy, equality and diversity and discreditable conduct, and Mr England was dismissed from the force with immediate effect.
“Dyfed-Powys Police quite rightly expects the highest standards of professional behaviour from its officers and staff, as do the communities we serve and protect, “Temporary Chief Constable Claire Parmenter said following the hearing before the second panel.
“The force cannot and will not tolerate behaviour of this kind. We will always take action to protect our officers, staff, and without question, the public.
“It is vital that we maintain public confidence in the force, and public confidence cannot be upheld by allowing individuals who behave in such a way to remain in the organisation.
“I am pleased to see that the seriousness of this matter has now been recognised and that the panel have judged this behaviour to amount to gross misconduct. This confirms that the decision to challenge the original conclusion via judicial review was absolutely the right one”.
Covid cases rates in Wales continue to be the lowest in the UK
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics have recorded an 30% increase in the number of people infected with Covid-19 in Wales.
Over the week ending 24 July, the ONS estimates 18,800 people had with coronavirus, an increase of 4,400 from the previous week surveyed, 0.62% of the population.
In the Week ending 17 July 14,400 people were estimated to have Covid, 0.47% of the population.
Despite the increase, Wales continues to have the lowest rates of infection in the UK, while England continues to record the highest number of cases.
The ONS estimates that 856,200 people within the community population in England had Covid-19, up from 741,700 over the previous seven days, equating to around 1 in 65 people or 1.36%, while in Scotland cases have fallen from 65,100 to 49,500, 1.24% of the population.
Northern Ireland recorded an increase from 10,900 to 27,200 and has the lowest rate beind Wales at 0.59%.
Meanwhile Public Health Wales has confirmed four further deaths due to Covid-19 and 824 new positive tests for the virus in the last 24 hours.
Two of the newly recorded deaths were in the Hywel Dda health board area, while Aneurin Bevan and Cwm Taf Morgannwg health boards each recorded one death.
Over the last three days 13 deaths have been reported in Wales, taking the total since the start of the pandemic to 5,610
The national infection rate has fallen for the ninth day and currently stands at 152.7 cases per 100,000 based on the seven days up to July 25, down from 155.2 yesterday.
Denbighshire continues to have the highest weekly case rate in Wales at 407.5, up from 406.5 yesterday. The test positivity rate is also the highest in the country but has fallen in the last 24 hours from 16.8% per 100,000 cases to 16.5%.
Task force established to coordinate response surge respiratory viruses in children
Health Minister, Eluned Morgan MS, has announced a new group has been set up plan the response to the recent surge in respiratory viruses in children in Wales.
According to Public Health Wales, Respiratory Syncytial Virus infections in young children have quadrupled in the last four weeks and parents are being encouraged to look out for symptoms of severe infection in at-risk children, including a high temperature of 37.8°C or above, a dry and persistent cough, difficulty feeding, rapid or noisy breathing.
“As social mixing restarts, we expect the RSV season to occur earlier than in previous years. Public Health Wales surveillance data already shows RSV activity in Wales has exceeded the threshold that would indicate onset of seasonal activity of RSV, the minister warned in a written statement.
“The surveillance shows positive samples for RSV infection in Wales have increased over the last four consecutive weeks from 1.9 per cent to 9.9 per cent.
“It is also likely the RSV season will be of higher intensity than in previous years, potentially putting increased pressure on paediatric services. Other countries within the northern Hemisphere, including USA and France, reported unseasonal increases in RSV activity during the spring of 2021.”
“Infants identified as being at highest risk from RSV are eligible to be immunised with palivizumab, administered as an intramuscular injection, to provide protection against infection and to decrease the risk of hospitalisation,” she added.
“Five doses of palivizumab are usually required to cover the typical RSV season. If the RSV season was to run for longer than a typical season, up to seven doses may be given.
The new formed group is jointly chaired by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Interim Chief Nursing Officer and has already put measures in place including:
- Health boards developing a plan to surge the number of paediatric beds and increase their capacity to look after children who need more acute care.
- Plans to double the number of level-3 invasively ventilated critical care beds at the paediatric critical care unit in the Children’s Hospital for Wales.
- Provide additional training to staff who may need to be redeployed or upskilled
- Ongoing work to ensure additional equipment is available if required
- Rolling out palivizumab passive immunisation against RSV in at risk pre-term infants, as defined by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation.
In addition, the government’s Technical Advisory Cell has undertaken modelling on the expected RSV surge and its likely impact, and the Welsh Government is working closely with NHS England to maximise the available paediatric critical care capacity, particularly in relation to north Wales, where treatment is provided by English hospitals.