AS Wales heads in to the firebreak – a period of increased national restrictions – South Wales Police is urging its communities to continue doing their bit to support the measures.
Throughout the pandemic and the various periods of restriction – including the most recent local lockdowns which impacted on all seven local authority areas covered by the force – the public has been overwhelmingly positive in their compliance and support of the rules.
There has, however, continued to be a small minority who have either persistently or flagrantly broken the rules and our officers have been left with little option but to take enforcement action.
This video demonstrates just some of the excuses given by those breaching the rules – as well as the efforts made by officers to engage prior to enforcement, and explain the rationale for enforcement in order to try and educate and prevent further breaches.
Chief Superintendent Andy Valentine, Gold Commander for the force’s coronavirus response, said: “The national firebreak is intended to keep communities across Wales safe, while affording our NHS and Test, Trace and Protect services an opportunity bring the second wave of the pandemic under control before more lives are lost.
“I know the prospect of further civil restrictions is frustrating and disheartening for people, but I would urge everyone in our communities to follow the regulations as they come into effect today.
“As the First Minister commented earlier this week, the success of the firebreak depends on all of us following the rules and ultimately police officers shouldn’t need to enforce the regulations.
“Like all police forces in the UK, our preference has always been encouraging voluntary compliance, but we will act against those who blatantly disregard legislation intended to keep them and the wider public safe.
“The examples shown in this footage are unacceptable. They are also disrespectful to the families of those who have died and NHS colleagues who have worked tirelessly to treat those affected by what remains a dangerous virus.
“Responding to alleged COVID-19 breaches diverts police officers from areas where they are needed most – protecting vulnerable people and tackling serious and violent crimes. They are also placing my colleagues – men and women who are from our local communities – at increased risk of being exposed to coronavirus.
“As we enter the firebreak period, I am appealing for the continued support of the public across South Wales. Please take time to understand the latest regulations, all of which can be found on the Welsh Government website and are widely publicised in the media.
“By following them, we can all play a part in protecting our communities and the National Health Service.”