Posted: Mon 18th May 2020

First Minister says coronavirus lockdown fines could be increased if evidence supports it

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, May 18th, 2020

The First Minister of Wales says coronavirus lockdown fines could be increased if there is evidence to support it.

It comes as a poll conducted on Twitter by the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner shows around 90 per cent of respondents supported upping the current level of £60 for a first breach of COVID-19 legislation (reduced to £30 if paid within a fortnight).

The amount in England was previously raised to £100 and Arfon Jones has called for Wales to follow suit.

There have been a total of just over 2,300 votes on the poll to date, with almost 11 per cent preferring to increase fines to £100, 14.6 per cent to £250 and 64.6 per cent to £500.

In contrast, only around ten per cent said they did not back upping the fixed penalty notice rate.

First Minister Mark Drakeford was questioned over whether the amount would be increased at today’s daily Welsh Government press conference.

He said: “We’ve always been willing to consider that point, of course, which is why we had discussions with our chief constables and police and crime commissioners on Thursday and Friday of last week.

“As I said, I’m very grateful to them for having acted rapidly to provide evidence to us which has arrived this morning, so we will need to consider that.

“The criminal justice system is a really important and serious system, and no government should take action to change penalties unless there is good evidence of the need to do so.

“And when you take action, you have to be sure that it is proportionate to the problem that you are facing.

“That’s what the evidence that we will have received this morning we’ll be looking at.

“If the evidence demonstrates that there is a problem which can be solved and should be solved by raising the level of funds in Wales then of course, we are prepared to discuss that with our chief constables.”

There have been a number of reported breaches of coronavirus regulations in North Wales over the weekend.

They included a family of 11 who travelled 120 miles from Manchester to visit an Anglesey beauty spot.

The group drove in three different cars to spend the day at South Stack, which police described as “unbelievable”.

Meanwhile, driver from as far afield as London, Norwich and even Scotland had to be turned away by officers in Llanrwst.

Posting on Twitter (see below), Mr Jones appealed to Mr Drakeford to give police the tools to do their job, highlighting a case where one person had laughed at the fine they were given.

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