South Wales Police say they are being called out on average 40 times a day to deal with potential breaches of coronavirus regulations.
Since new local lockdown measures were first introduced in mid-September, officers have issued a number of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) or reported people for consideration for prosecution.
The force has detailed some of the incidents, including:
- 12 people at one address in Porth, Rhondda, where an illegal house party was taking place;
- A motorist who travelled from Aberystwyth to Merthyr Tydfil to buy a van;
- A Bridgend homeowner who was warned by officers for having visitors to her home. She was given an FPN after officers were called back the same evening and found people hiding in the garden;
- A man who persistently travelled from Cardiff to Rhondda Cynon Taf to attend the licensed premises at which he is a regular.
- A woman from Swansea who returned from a foreign holiday and returned to work the following day instead of self-isolating as required.
A wedding party with more than 100 guests at a Swansea venue was also shut down, and 190 Acceptable Behaviour Contracts were handed out to students when they were called to a halls of residence. Pictures of the Swansea wedding party here.
On the positive side, a joint operation in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil, 26 licensed premises were visited and only one required advise to improve in order to ensure compliance.
Around 20 antisocial behaviour referrals have also been made in lieu of Fixed Penalty Notices, and sounds systems and other equipment seized, in a small number of instances. Section 35 dispersal orders have also been used where appropriate.
Police have highlighted the rule breakers as part of their message that communities need to continue supporting the collective effort to help slow the spread of the virus – or face enforcement action.
They said that the vast majority of people are adhering to Welsh Government regulations, but they are responding to an average of 40 reports of potential breaches every day.
Chief Superintendent Andy Valentine, Gold Commander for the force’s Covid response, said: “This remains a health pandemic which affects us all, and we should all be playing our part because it is the right thing to do to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the NHS upon which we all depend.
“The vast majority of the public are doing just that, and therefore the need for enforcement remains relatively low. This would always be our preferred option; we are now responding to the same levels of crime and emergency calls for service as we faced before the pandemic started so we need to be able to reach those most in need as quickly as possible.
“Our priority has always been to keep South Wales Safe and we are grateful to those members of the public who are doing the right thing and enabling us to just that.
“For those who are continuing to flout the rules by hosting and attending house parties, ignoring travel restrictions – be it local, national or international – or failing to adhere to self-isolation requirements, we can and will enforce.
“I’d also like to remind those individuals that the penalty for breaching restrictions can be more punitive than they might think; while the fines begin at £60, that amount can raise and can result in a court summons so – much like the virus the majority of us are committed to tackling – it could prove very costly.”
The cases in your area:
Cases continue to rise in Wales, with Merthyr Tydfil currently having the highest rate of infections in Wales with 223.8 cases per 100,000 people based on a rolling seven-day average, up from 200.6 on Wednesday.
Rhondda Cynon Taf follows at 176.6 per 100,000 of population, down from 178.2 the day before.
The other local authority areas recording more than 100 cases per 100,000 included Flintshire with 144.1, Swansea with 133.6, Wrexham with 132.4, Bridgend with 131.2, Cardiff with 120.7 and Denbighshire with 101.4.
The Wales overall infection rate is 95.1 per 100,000, which is up on 92.6 recorded the day before. All the latest rates are here.
On Friday, Wales Health Minister Vaughan Gething said people needed to adhere to the rules.
He said: “There are some members of the public who are reluctant to believe that this is real and that this is happening again.
“The challenge is that if we can’t all do our bit, then it makes the further increase in cases and the likely prospect of other action much more likely.
“If we do nothing, then it is a very difficult winter, and I saw we as in the whole country. This is something for all of us. If we want to be able to live with fewer restrictions, and the way we choose to behave are really important.
“This is a point of real seriousness. We all need to make choices and think positively about how to follow the rules rather than to avoid doing so.”
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk