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VIPs join disability access task

A chief constable has joined an MP and a council chief executive in a challenge to highlight the problems faced by people with disabilities.

Ian Arundale, head of Dyfed-Powys Police, took part in Brecknock Access Group’s (BAG) “big challenge”.

He, local MP Roger Williams and Powys council’s Jeremy Patterson, were asked to find their way around Brecon in a wheelchair and then in dark glasses.

Alex Robinson of BAG was impressed by how well they handled the tasks.

Mr Robinson, the group’s vice-president, said: “We think today was really constructive and we got a lot of points across.”

Mr Robinson, a wheelchair user who was injured while serving in the Army, said: “They saw a lot of the problems we have to deal with and they were sympathetic and said they would try and fix them for us.

“The chief constable is good and usually delivers what he promises.”

BAG said some people in Brecon did not take care parking their cars which often blocked drop-kerbs.

The charity also complained that its members were impeded by advertising boards and other items on pavements.

Mr Patterson said:

“I was pleased to be able to take part in today’s big challenge.

“Whilst I feel access in our towns and villages across Powys has improved in recent years, it was obvious to me today that there is still work to be done to improve the current situation.

‘Simplest task’

“I am confident that the council will tackle these issues and will consult with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the best possible results are achieved.”

Mr Williams said:

“Even the simplest task of popping to town to buy a paper or a loaf of bread can cause difficulties for people with disabilities.

“Wheelchair users and people who are blind or partially sighted face particular problems when cars are parked on pavements or signs are placed in the way. New road layouts and shared surfaces also cause problems.”

Mr Arundale said Dyfed-Powys Police was working hard to ensure that “all aspects of diversity and equality are a core part of our day to day work and we recently launched a single equality scheme for the force that integrates all the strands”.

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