‘Shambolic’ PM announcement could cause influx of visitors to the north of Wales warns police boss

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

The Prime Minister’s announcement that people in England will now be allowed to travel outside their local area to take exercise could lead to a new influx of visitors to the north of Wales, according to a police boss.

Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said he feared a “total shambles” as people from across the border would now be encouraged to head to Waes’ mountains and coast.

The new guidance from Mr Johnson was contrary to regulations in Wales, where people are encouraged to exercise locally and stay at home when possible.

Mr Jones stressed that the message from North Wales Police remained the same and they would still be stopping cars and fining people who did not have a good reason to be out on the region’s roads.

But, he said, the confusion would make it much more difficult to enforce the regulations here during the three-week extension to the overall lockdown.

“It’s going to be difficult to differentiate between people who live in North Wales and those who travel over the border. It’s a total shambles,” Arfon Jones said.

“People from England can come here to have a picnic, go for a swim in the sea and our national parks where they can sunbathe all day or go for a walk.

“We need to specify the travel for leisure and exercise in Wales is still non-essential and they still commit and offence by doing what is legal in England. We need further guidance from Westminster and Cardiff.

“Otherwise, it’s going to be difficult to get the message to people in England that the situation here hasn’t changed – and that they are still going to be stopped and still going to be fined if needs be if they have broken the law.”

 

‘Contradictory’

Arfon Jones added that he had real concerns about the number of people who would be tempted to head to the north of Wales, particularly as there is no restriction in England.

“The danger is that people will be travelling to places like Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula from cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham because they will believe they have been given the green light to do so,” he said.

“It’s made our work here in Wales so much harder and it is so unnecessary.”

Mr Jones was also concerned by the decision to allow garden centres to open again which appeared “contradictory”.

Calling for an explanation from the Welsh Government, he added: “The fact that garden centres are being allowed to open does muddy the picture a bit.

“I was always under the impression that if you were going to travel, you had to have a reasonable excuse to do so.

“This does seem a bit contradictory – is it essential to go to a garden centre? And should people go to their nearest garden centre or will they be allowed to travel farther afield?

“When they come to issue guidelines, I would hope the Welsh Government will explain that to us.”

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John EllisSteve DugganHuw DaviesWilliam Glyn THOMASAndy M Recent comment authors
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Carole
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Carole

The only thing to do is to set up road blocks.. We have a disunited kingdom now.

Andy M
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Andy M

Completely agree. The police should place road blocks on every road into Wales along the border. This is not a game.

E Williams
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E Williams

I sympathise with the dilemma but for myself conclude that its now a race to get out for those gagging to visit Snowdonia. If they aren’t already on their way, the cars will be revving on the drives. I doubt they’ll even read a penalty notice let alone pay it. So what now of NHS capacity to cope in North West Wales? With the area’s infection yet to peak, I guess the sacrifices of the last 6 weeks will have been in vain. Will Cardiff bay build a Dragon’s heart field hospital up here now? Or will they just shrug… Read more »

Andrew John Teague
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Andrew John Teague

The message for people in Cymru, and anyone visiting our nation, is quite clear. STAY HOME – PROTECT THE NHS – SAVE LIVES.

William Glyn THOMAS
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William Glyn THOMAS

Mr Jones, it is time to get your finger out. If English citizens flout a law passed by the Senedd and they are stopped by Police and refuse to co-operate, then they can be arrested for “Obstructing a Police Officer in the execution of his/her duty. I’m sure Welsh residents will not be pleased if the Police do not stop these selfish people from threatening the health of the Nation and this is likely to lead to a Breach of the Peace. You have the powers to deal with this just muster up the bottle to deal with it in… Read more »

John Ellis
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John Ellis

Well, the chief constable of Gwent was quite unequovical on the TV news last night (11th.) that the police very definitely will be out and about, checking, and reacting as necessary.

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Book ’em , Jones bach. And anyone giving abusive backchat should get the bracelets and a night in the local nick. Causes work in the short term, but very effective way of sending out a message to clever dicks.

Steve Duggan
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Steve Duggan

There was a mention of ‘road blocks’ on here, it may well come down to that. The trouble with Johnson’s announcement is that no one is being tested. Go back to work and be ‘Alert’ will not stop the virus spreading – especially by asymptomatic people who may well be super-spreaders too. What does that mean for Wales ? Our ‘R’ rate will start to increase as infections in England rise due to people crossing the border, road blocks may be the only answer to that.