The Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner has withdrawn funding from the local authority-run Carmarthenshire News and instead offered his backing to “independent” local media outlets.
Christopher Salmon announced he was ending the £5,000 Dyfed-Powys Police contribution to the Carmarthenshire county council-produced publication and instead pledged to “maximise communication” with local newspapers, broadcasters and websites – which he described as “the bedrock of democracy”
Mr Salmon added that the money previously given to Carmarthenshire News would be better spent on crime-fighting initiatives.
“Carmarthenshire people trust their local papers,” said Mr Salmon.
“I’m a great believer in the traditional local media. Its independence is valued by the public and its titles and radio stations are trusted.
“We talk to local papers and other media across Dyfed-Powys and that works well.
“We aim to communicate with the public in the way that they tell us best suits them, including through the media, face to face and on social media.
“I’m confident that our Carmarthenshire News payments can be used more wisely.”
Carmarthenshire News is published by the Carmarthenshire Local Service Board (LSB) which brings together various public sector organisations and others.
Members of the LSB include Carmarthenshire County Council, Hywel Dda Health Board and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
Mr Salmon added that Dyfed-Powys Police and the Commissioner’s Office would remain in the LSB, which meets every two months.
Chris Martin, Chairman of Carmarthenshire Local Service Board & Chairman of Hywel Dda Health Board, said: “We were surprised to be informed of this press statement given that this matter was discussed at the last Carmarthenshire Local Service Board meeting which was held on Wednesday.
“Although the Police and Crime Commissioner was not present himself, he was represented at the meeting and this message was not conveyed at that time.
“He did not copy us in to his press statement or informing us that he was releasing anything before sending the statement to the media.
“This matter will be discussed by the Local Service Board at its next meeting.”