Policing Coronavirus – Breaching of Restrictions is “Completely Unacceptable”
Five weeks since Government restrictions were imposed, South Wales Police is continuing to see a small minority of individuals flouting lockdown guidelines.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Valentine, who is leading the force’s COVID-19 response, has stressed that the majority of the public are playing their part and following the rules, but that a small minority continue to put themselves and others at risk by flouting the legislation.
ACC Valentine said, “It is simply unacceptable that some people appear to believe the legislation does not apply to them. Every single person in society has a part to play in helping stop the spread of Coronavirus.
“The vast majority have taken that message on board and are complying because it is the right thing to do. Sadly, there appears to be a small section of the public who don’t appear to care about protecting themselves, their loved ones or the NHS and some of the reasons given to my colleagues for not complying with the restrictions have been frankly ridiculous. To those who are ignoring the regulations, please be under no illusion that we will enforce the regulations and issue fines.
“I cannot stress enough the part everyone has to play. Complacency now, even just by a few, could really set back the progress that has been made so far; something which none of us want to see. We appreciate that this is a challenging situation and one unlike anything any of us have ever experienced, however failing to comply will only delay the lifting of restrictions.”
Among the calls responded to by South Wales Police in recent weeks are:
- Groups gathering at open spaces to sunbathe, play football and have picnics;
- Numerous house parties, barbecues and large family gatherings;
- Suspected pub “lock-ins”
Figures released by the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) on Thursday, April 30, show South Wales Police has issued 102 fixed penalty notices since the Government restrictions began.
The force is clear that flagrant and persistent breaches will be met with enforcement action.
ACC Valentine added, “Our officers are out in our communities, engaging and enforcing where necessary, but we cannot be everywhere all of the time.
“We are grateful for the information the public is providing and we are using the information to inform our patrols and responses.
“But this is not only a matter for the police. Businesses have important role in ensuring social distancing to protect their customers and staff, and we have had to refer a number of companies to local authorities for enforcement action.
“Primarily, all individuals need to take responsibility for their actions. Our message remains a simple one – please Stay Home, Protect the NHS, and Save Lives.
“Those failing to do so risk receiving a fine, losing commercial licences and – most importantly – contracting and spreading the virus.”
South Wales Police can be contacted on 101 or via the online crime reporting portal.
Concerns over businesses potentially trading illegally or failing to comply with social distances measures should be referred to Trading Standards. Details an be found here.