Fines for people caught flouting the coronavirus lockdown rules are set to increase in Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
As of Friday (May 22), the top fine for those caught defying the laws will increase from £120 to £1,920.
The current fixed penalty of £60 for the first breach will remain in place, but will double with each time someone is caught breaking the rules, up to the sixth offence.
Making the announcement, Mr Drakeford expressed his gratitude towards the police chief constables and police and crime commissioners across Wales for the “work they have done to keep Wales safe throughout the coronavirus pandemic”.
He added: “The police have adopted a ‘4Es’ approach to the regulations – they have engaged people, explained what they need to do, and encouraged them to comply. But when people haven’t responded, they have used their powers to enforce the regulations.
“Fines are a last resort in the enforcement of the regulations which keep us all safe.
“The evidence from the chief constables and police and crime commissioners shows we need a stronger fines structure to deter that small minority of people who persistently fail to keep to the rules.”
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Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS described the fine increases as a “victory for common sense” and said: “After weeks of pressure from Wales’ police chiefs and Plaid Cymru, the Labour Welsh Government have finally seen sense and raised the maximum fines for those breaking lockdown rules in Wales from £120 to £1,920.
“However, the decision not to raise the minimum fines in parity with England as requested by the All Wales Policing Group remains bitterly regrettable.”
Welsh Conservative leader Paul Davies MS said the move was “long overdue”, and hit out at the First Minister for making “a policy u-turn to the media rather than to the Welsh Parliament.”
Mr Davies accused Mr Drakeford of being “scared of scrutiny.”
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