MP for Brecon and Radnorshire reflects on day spent with her local force
With music in venues and on the streets, and a number of other activities in the town, the Jazz Festival brings a lot of activity to Brecon. On the Saturday night of the festival I joined local police officers to see how they go about their work at such a busy time.
The evening was part of the Give a Day to Policing scheme, which encourages politicians to spend time with their local police force, getting a brief glimpse into life on the frontline. As a newly elected MP I’m keen to make sure I’m listening to as many people as possible, so I really welcomed the opportunity.
Before we went out I had a tour of the police station and custodial facilities. I also took the chance to speak to them about some of the challenges they faced in general. We had a lengthy conversation about the relationship between mental health and crime, and the importance of ensuring people with mental health problems receive the support they need.
After the talk at the station it was time to head into the pouring rain for a walk around Brecon. Despite the weather the festival was in full swing, ensuring a lively town along with certain challenges for the police.
We had a discussion with the organisers and heard how they were working with the police to help ensure the event ran as smoothly as possible. We also caught up with the Brecon Street Pastors who continue to do such fantastic work in keeping people safe. From the snapshot I saw everyone was having a great time and seemed to be safe and enjoying themselves.
Events like this bring long and antisocial hours for our local police and I want to put on record my thanks for their hard work. For events like these they are also helped by police forces from wider afield, and various people and organisations who come together to work so hard on the event.
For me it was a Saturday night that really hammered home how committed so many of our police officers are. In our rural communities we may not always see as many flashing lights or hear as many blaring sirens as associated with crime in cities, but that doesn’t mean rural crime isn’t extremely damaging for those it affects.
I’d like to thank our local police officers for inviting me out with them. It was certainly an insightful evening for me, and one that will inform my work as an MP as I look to ensure the police receive the support they need to work as effectively as possible in rural communities like Brecon and Radnorshire.
Jane Dodds is Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and MP for Brecon & Radnorshire