Throughout lockdown police in Wales have been tasked with ensuring everyone follows the national lockdown restrictions.
This means officers could find themselves speaking to people committing acts, which before the pandemic were completely legal.
How can police enforce Covid-19 rules?
Since the first lockdown, police have been following a system called “the four E’s” when enforcing rule breakers.
Engage – find out why people are breaking the rules
Explain – outline the current rules and risks
Encourage – issue advice to change behaviours
Enforce – as a last resort officers can take further action.
What action can police take?
If police reach ‘the fourth E’ and have to take further action against those flouting the stay at home measures, this can happen in several ways.
Depending on the type of breach police officers can:
- Issue a fixed penalty notices
- Remove a person from a premises
- Issue a compliance notice
- Use power of entry
- Conduct road checks
- And arrest you
How much can you be fined?
Anyone over the age of 18 found in breach of lockdown regulations can be punished by fine, and the amount can increase after each re-offence, and failure to pay could lead to a court date.
Parents in Wales have also been fined after their teenagers were found breaching current restrictions by gathering outdoors and “being a nuisance”.
Gatherings in private dwellings and public places, travel restrictions, requirement to wear face coverings:
If anyone is found to be breaching any of the above, a £60 FPN will be issued and must be paid within 28 days.
If the FPN is paid within 14 days, the amount is reduced to £30.
The amount will double for each re-offence up to £1920 up to the sixth offence, and each fine after that will be at that amount.
Attending a large gathering in a private dwelling:
If you attend a large gathering, you could be fined an FPN of £60
Organising an event:
You could be fined £500, but if the person who organised the event has already received a FPN the fine will increase to £1,000.
This increases to £2,000 for the third offence, £4,000 for the fourth and each offence after.
However, if someone has organised an unlicensed music event police can issue a FPN of £10,000.
Fining a business:
Local authorities enforcement agents can issue an improvement and a closure notice to premises not complying with the rules, including a FPN of £1,000 for a first offence, £2,000 for the second offence, £4,000 for the third and £10,000 for the fourth and subsequent offences.
Can the police force me to wear a face mask?
Yes. If you do not wear a mask without a legitimate reason, or do not wear your mask correctly – covering both your mouth and your nose you could get in trouble.
Police officers have the power to prevent you from entering the store or boarding public transport if you refuse to wear a mask.
If you are already in the store or on public transport and you remove your mask, officers can remove you from the premises, and can use reasonable force if necessary.
You can also be issued a FPN of £60 for breaching coronavirus measures, which will increase with each subsequent offence.
Can police officers enter a building?
Yes. Police can use a power of entry to enter premises if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that regulations are being breached.
This could include entering a private dwelling if they suspect a gathering is taking place, or entering a business if they believe they are not operating in line with the current regulations.
Can the police stop me while driving?
Police officers can conduct road checks to find out whether it is carrying a person who has committed or intends to break Covid regulations.
This includes stopping drivers from North Wales and from England who try to head to beauty spots like Snowdonia.
If the driver is found to be breaking the law, they can be ordered to return home. They will be reported for coronavirus offences and could face a fine.
Even if I break the rules, how likely am I to be fined?
The home Office has pledged an extra £30 million to pay for Covid patrols across England and Wales.
And the National Police Chiefs’ Council hasn’t abandoned the Four Es – but expect more fines and more officers asking people what they are doing.
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How can I report someone for breaking the rules?
If you feel it necessary you can report a business directly to the relevant council.
You can also report someone who is not following the current measures to North Wales Police via their website.
The list of reasons you can report an individual includes:
- Reporting a self-isolation breach
- Someone travelling in and out of different tiers/alert levels
- People breaking the rules on gatherings
- Face masks not being worn when they should be
Once you select the relevant breach you will be asked to give your details, the details of the person who breached the rules and information on how they breached the restrictions.
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