Police boss blasts “irresponsible and reckless” Boris Johnson over travel from Covid hotspots


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A police boss has blasted “irresponsible and reckless” Boris Johnson for refusing to ban people from Covid hotspots travelling into Wales and potentially bringing the virus with them.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones is furious that the UK Prime Minster had dismissed the request to ban people from travelling from areas of England with high infection rates

Mr Jones spoke out after Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford threatened a travel ban if Mr Johnson does not impose his own.

He said he was giving UK ministers “one final opportunity” before he makes changes in Welsh law.

The UK government announced on Monday that it will advise against non-essential travel from Merseyside.

But it stopped short of making it illegal, angering Welsh ministers and the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner.

Mr Jones said: “The Prime Minister is once again behaving irresponsibly and recklessly in allowing people from Covid hotspots to potentially import and spread the virus here in North Wales.

“He displayed his trademark arrogance in dismissing a perfectly reasonable question from Liz Saville Roberts, the MP for Meirionnydd Dwyfor, when she raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

Speaking on the Jason Mohammed show on Radio Wales, Mr Jones added: “The First Minister seems to be extremely frustrated with the Boris Johnson. I think what is being asked for is perfectly reasonable.

“People who live in Conwy cannot leave the county, but people from hotspots like Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham can travel into Conwy and spend time there.

“The only thing the Prime Minster has said is that they’re advised not to, but there is nothing to stop them from going. So, I do share the First Minister’s frustration on this.

“Policing is between a rock and a hard place on this issue. It is right in principle to do what Mr Drakeford and Mr Gething are suggesting, but it is very difficult for police to enforce it, even though we’ve had more money to enforce Covid regulations.

“But if the Welsh Government do ban people from crossing the border into Wales from England, we will do our best, along with our partners in local authorities and health to enforce the regulations.

“We’d need to look at how we would enforce these rules and have a conversation with our four chief constables here in Wales.

“I can’t see us lining the border with patrol cars because none of the police forces in Wales have the resources to do that.

“The demand now is as high as it was before the first Covid lockdown. We will try to encourage and educate but if that doesn’t work, we will enforce.

“I think there will be a lower tolerance level because people do know what the rules and regulations are by now. So, there will be much less leeway for people who deliberately break the rules.

“I think there is an ideological difference between the devolved government and Westminster. It’s the health vs wealth argument.

“Obviously, Westminster is concerned about the economy as we all are, but I think the devolved nations want to put public health ahead.”

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