Police forces across Wales have had a busy weekend implementing the Government’s new social distancing laws.
Last week, new powers were given to the police to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.
Empty beaches, high streets and parks are just some of the sights of Wales at the weekend, as the country faced its first weekend under coronavirus lockdown.
This comes following unprecedented levels of visitors to parts of Wales, including Pen Y Fan and Snowdonia in North Wales.
Car parks were closed, with a heavy police presence in the area, stopping vehicles and asking motorists where they were heading.
The new laws that came into force last week are aimed at limiting the unnecessary movement of people, with everyone in the country advised to stay home.
South Wales police were visiting many locations and checking open spaces, high streets and neighbourhoods to ensure people are following the rules and to you keep you safe.
Police checking Victoria Park in the west of the city.
Individuals are only allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
- Shopping for basic necessities and supplies, which should be as infrequently as possible;
- One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of their household;
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
- Travelling to and from work, but only where they cannot reasonably practicably work from home.
People should stay at least 2m away from each other at all times.
Participating in gatherings of more than two people in public spaces is also not permitted except in very limited circumstances, for example, where it is for essential work purposes. The police have powers to enforce this.
Dyfed Powys Police officers were carrying out high visibility patrols of beaches, coastal areas and popular spots to find gatherings, as well as regular static checks on our roads to make sure only essential journeys are taking place.
If people do not comply with these new laws:
- They can be directed to return home or removed from where they are and returned home
- They may have to pay a fixed penalty notice of £30, which if not paid within 14 days will double to £60, and if they are issued with a second or subsequent notice the charge will be £120
Meanwhile in North Wales, members of the intercept team were stopping drivers and asking them why they were traveling into Wales.
Several vehicles had been stopped and turned around due to them just coming here for their ‘holiday’.
Tourist attractions, like Moel Famau are currently closed.
North Wales police patrolling the paradise of the Llyn Peninsula at the weekend.
Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the Regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.
If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them. However, in the first instance the police will always apply their common sense and discretion.
Speaking ahead of the new powers coming in, Chief Constable for South Wales Police, Matt Jukes said:
“The majority of people are already making real sacrifices to save lives and we urge everyone to follow the advice that is designed to keep us all safe.
“I hope that the vast majority of our communities will recognise the need to comply with new restrictions announced by the Prime Minister based on the severity of the situation.
“South Wales Police has a track record of maintaining public order and safety in huge events and at times of emergency. We have always done so positively, with pride and professionalism.
“So, we will continue to do what we do best – engage with people. We will ask them to support their communities and stick to these important restrictions. As the public would expect, we will also enforce the existing law when this is necessary and new legal powers, as they come into effect.
“My colleagues – the police officers and other staff who you may speak with in the coming weeks are working to keep you and your families safe and well. They have families to go home to, too. Thank you, in anticipation for your support and cooperation.”