Don’t lift lockdown in three weeks to avoid bank holiday ‘mayhem’ – police chief

Arfon Jones, the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner at Police HQ in Colwyn Bay.

A police chief is calling for the new three-week lockdown be extended for at least another week to avoid a surge of tourists over the May bank holiday weekend.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones and the three other Welsh commissioners have already raised the matter with the Welsh Government and will be seeking the support of the policing minister, Kit Malthouse MP, when they have a conference call with him on Thursday.

Mr Jones says it’s essential to send out a clear message about the importance of staying home to avoid causing a second wave of the coronavirus.

He said: “We have called on the Welsh Government to extend the lockdown for at least a week beyond the bank holiday on May 8.

“If we relax the restrictions ahead of the bank holiday weekend, everybody is going to want to get out.

“It’s vitally important to send out a clear message that it’s imperative that people stay at home for the time being.

“We must send out the same message as the one we sent out ahead of the Easter weekend and we must be just as robust in our enforcement of the lockdown.

“There are risks and deadly consequences if people do not respect the lockdown and don’t stay put.

“We can’t relax the restrictions in certain areas and not in others. The lockdown should remain as a UK wide policy otherwise people will travel into areas where things have been relaxed, causing mayhem and leading to a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

“The three-week extension to the lockdown should go on for at least another week beyond the bank holiday on May 8.

“It’s natural that people would want to get out and to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day but staying at home and saving lives is far more important.

“The Government should make it clear that the planned celebrations on May 8 are being postponed until it is safe for them to be held at a later date.

“Quite rightly, other events like agricultural shows, the National and Urdd eisteddfods along with sporting fixtures have all been postponed or cancelled this year and we really should not be sending out mixed messages.

“As police and crime commissioners, we will be raising this with the policing minister, Kit Malthouse, next Thursday in our weekly conference call.”

 

‘Confused’

It was a sentiment endorsed by Dafydd Llywelyn, his counterpart in Dyfed-Powys, who stressed the importance of extending the lockdown further to safeguard against the spread of Covid-19.

He said: “The extension is welcomed and social distancing should remain over the VE Day Bank Holiday in May to safeguard against further spread of COVID-19”.

Both commissioners welcomed the decision of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the professional standards body, the College of Policing, to withdraw their guidance which described driving to the countryside for a walk as reasonable if far more time was spent walking than driving.

Mr Llywelyn added: “The England only guidance issued by the College of Policing has confused matters and the public should understand that there are no changes to the travel rules in Wales and traveling for daily exercise is not essential.

“Welsh Forces will continue to proactively enforce the lockdown and exercise should be carried out close to your home address”.

Peak

Meanwhile Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Liz Saville Roberts MP has said that all four UK Governments must agree how and when lockdown is lifted, after a meeting with the First Secretary of State Dominic Raab MP in a cross-party meeting this morning.

London has consistently been highlighted as significantly ahead of other regions of England, as well as the other nations of the UK, Liz Saville Roberts said.

With the lockdown implemented on a UK wide basis, Ms Saville Roberts sought clarification as to whether it will be lifted on the same basis, noting that Wales could face considerable risks if there were any relaxation of a lock-down in England while the ‘peak’ had not been reached in Wales.

Ms Saville Roberts MP said that it was vital that all four nations agree any lockdown exit strategy and, if necessary, maintain the lock-down in England until all four nations agree that the peak infection period have passed everywhere.

“This morning’s meeting with the First Secretary of State was a welcome opportunity to question the UK Government on its next steps in response to the Coronavirus crisis,” she said.

“Opposition leaders did so robustly, but always with the intention of ensuring the best possible outcome for public health.

“Perhaps the overriding concern is when and how lockdown is lifted. The UK Government continues to focus on the passage of the ‘peak’ of the outbreak, however I have serious concerns as to how this is measured. In particular, whether differences across the four different nations and regions of England are taken into account – especially when it comes to a decision on any change to the social distancing measures.

“It was a UK-wide lockdown and it should be a decision for all of the four governments of the UK as to when and how it is lifted. If any of those administrations has concerns about restrictions being lifted they should be maintained across the four nations.

“If the lockdown is lifted in one nation or region because it has passed the ‘peak’ not only will we see confusion, but the potential movement of people around the UK which in turn could lead to greater infection rates and more importantly unnecessary pressures on local healthcare services.

“We cannot take any unnecessary risks – this is not about constitutional politics, it is about saving people’s lives.”

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WrexhamianJonesyJonathan Gammondj humphrysPlain citizen Recent comment authors
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Ann Owen
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Ann Owen

Da iawn Arfon Jones, a Dafyd Llywelyn ac wrth Liz Saville Roberts – mae cryn bryder wedi ei achosi gan y canllawiau newydd i’r Heddlu adroddwyd yn Online Wales efo’r pennawd, “10 Things you can do in the Lockdown”! Falch o ddarllen yma nad ydi gyrru i’r wald i gerdded ddim yn berthnasol i Gymru OND mae’r neges yn ddryslyd iawn! Ydach chi’n meddwl byddai’n bosib i’r holl gyfryngau gario neges mewn print bras yn nodi ddim yng Nghymru? Ac hefyd i hynny gael ei nodi’n glir yn y Briffing o Downing Street? Diolch eto am yn effro ar ein… Read more »

Ann Owen
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Ann Owen

May thanks Arfon Jones, Dafydd Llywelyn and of course Liz Saville Roberts – considerable anxiety has been caused by the new Police guidelines reported today in Wales Online under the heading ” 10 Things you can do in the Lockdown”! Really relieved to read here that driving to the countryside to walk is not relevant to Wales BUT the message is very confusing! Do you think that it would be possible for all media to carry the message in bold print noting not in Wales? Also for that to be noted in the Downing Street Briefing? Thank you again for… Read more »

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

It’s almost as though one would think lockdown must be maintained for the convenience of various police forces as crime is well down at the moment as opposed to letting the population escape from virtual house arrest.
When would Ann like to start examining the public’s supermarket trolleys or putting cameras by everybody’s front door? For their own good of course.

Jonesy
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Jonesy

Where are the virus hotspots? Any long distance holiday travel/ bookings from those areas to relatively unaffected areas like west Wales, Cumbria, Devon etc shld be suspended until there is a clear sign and proof that the virus is waning significantly. Tell you what book, a cheap flight to Lombardy for a month, why don’t you?

Simon Gruffydd
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Dafydd Llywelyn underscores “the importance of extending the lockdown further to safeguard against the spread of Covid-19.” Epidemiologists stress the need to spread this coronavirus to ensure its elimination. Given that between 50% and 85% of the people who get this coronavirus experience no symptoms at all, and it is only dangerous to those with already ‘one foot in the grave’, the Lockdown will only extend the life of the virus, increasing the likelihood of a second, third, and more waves. This advice from the police is ludicrous,unscientific and dangerous. Ms Saville Roberts: “… it is about saving people’s lives.”… Read more »

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

You are correct about Lockdown. The total deaths in the UK has increased because people are not going to hospital because they are scared of catching the virus and with all the hysteria they don’t want to get in the way of virus victims needing care of which there are not that many judging by the emptiness of the new emergency hospitals. The damage caused by mental illness, other medical problems not being treated and poverty in years to come from the decision to crash the economy will be far worse than this virus which leading researchers at Stanford (having… Read more »

j humphrys
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j humphrys

STANFORD: “Covid 19 refers to human infection caused by corona virus strain SARS-Cov-2. While symptoms of many human coronavirus infections are mild, COVID-19 infections can be serious, leading to pneumonia and in some cases death.”

Jonathan Gammond
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Jonathan Gammond

Lifting the lockdown region by region recalls the ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ areas of the past.

Wrexhamian
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Wrexhamian

Syniad da, serch hynny. Mae Arfon Jones yn gywir. If Drakeford eases the lockdown before Westminster, I guarantee a repeat of the ‘flight to Gwynedd’ that we witnessed in March before the North Wales police started taking a hard line and making them turn back.