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27th March 2020

New legislation to slow the spread of Coronavirus

BY: Nathan Spackman

South Wales Police has been given new powers to enforce Government restrictions on travel and public gatherings.

But the force’s main message to the public remains that they must comply with the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister based on the severity of the Coronavirus outbreak.

To ensure people stay at home and avoid non-essential travel, if members of the public do not comply officers may:

•             Instruct them to go home, leave an area or disperse
•   Ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules
•   Issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.
•  Issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence.

However, in the first instance police officers will always apply their common sense and discretion.

They will engage with members of the public, explain the restrictions and encourage voluntary compliance. If faced with non-compliance, officers will use enforcement if it is necessary and proportionate.

Chief Constable 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.

“We hope that the vast majority of our communities will recognise the need to follow the guidance and stay at home.

“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.

“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 utilise the new legislation when necessary where individuals show a total disregard for the restrictions which have been put in place to save lives.

“Police officers and other staff who you may speak to in the coming weeks are working to keep you and your families safe and well. They also have families to go home to.”

Individuals are only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

•   Shopping for basic necessities, 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 work from home.

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. Full guidance can be found here.

If you are aware of a business that is in apparent contravention of the lockdown, this should be reported to either the Environmental Health Department of your local Council or Trading Standards. This should only be reported to police if there is a disorder or if a crime has taken place. You can find your local Trading Standards office here: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-trading-standards-office

For a full list of businesses and premises that should be closed under the current lockdown, please check the official Government guidance document: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/875304/240320_Revised_Guidance.pdf

Please only call 101 or 999 if it is either an emergency or you need a police response and try to use our online reporting functions where possible www.south-wales.police.uk

We appreciate that in these uncertain times, members of the public will want to seek reassurance and the latest information and how this impacts business and individuals. The latest guidance and information around Coronavirus can be found on the Government website here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

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