A police boss fears there will be an influx people flocking across the border into North Wales on shopping trips and days out in an attempt to escape the national lockdown in England.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon
Jones (pictured) blames Boris Johnson for ignoring the clear advice of scientific advisors
to impose an earlier circuit-breaker lockdown which would have coincided with
17-day firebreak in Wales.
Mr Jones, a former police inspector, is concerned
that the UK Prime Minister’s decision to snub expert scientific advice will
encourage people from the North West to head to places like Broughton Shopping
Park which is just 400 metres inside the Welsh border.
Relaxing the restrictions in Wales meant shops
selling non-essential goods and pubs and restaurants would once again be able
to trade while they were closed in England.
The upshot of Mr Johnson’s “cavalier and
irresponsible” approach was that it was going to make life unnecessarily more
difficult for North Wales Police after the end of the firebreak in Wales.
The commissioner said: “It’s going to have
implications for policing in North Wales because I think people will be tempted
to cross the border to pop into Wrexham for a drink or go to retail
centres like Broughton Shopping Park.
“As always, North Wales Police will be stepping up
to the plate with high visibility policing similar to when the first national
lockdown was imposed in March.
“We’ll be carrying on doing the four Es – encourage
educate, engage and finally enforce if people continue to flout the rule.
“This is all about stopping the spread of this
deadly virus and we expect everybody to take personal responsibility and comply
with the rules like most people in Wales have been doing for the last seventeen
“We policed the first lockdown quite successfully
and we’ll continue to do so but its’ an additional burden that we could do
without but we are where we are.
“My message to anybody tempted to cross the border
into Wales without a legitimate reason is to stay home so we can keep people
safe and save lives.
“This situation where we have two sets of different
rules either side of the border could and should have been avoided because it’s
making life more complicated for everybody.
“If Boris Johnson had followed SAGE’s advice on
September 21 like Mark Drakeford did, we would have had a lockdown at the same
“The Welsh Government in fairness seem to have been
doing the right thing and Boris seems to have been ignoring the scientific
advice which is irresponsible.
“With some notable exceptions, the Welsh Government
played a blinder although the shambles around essential or non-essential
shopping was not their finest moment.
“Boris and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak have put the
economy first while here in Wales we’ve put health first and that absolutely
the right order of priority in my book.
“Many people have made huge sacrifices to live
within the rules, both before and during the firebreak.
“We now need to make sure that the effort we have
made together is not wasted, and we do not have to undergo a further firebreak
later in the year.”