Welsh Police Federation lead tells LBC 'practical solutions' are needed for non-essentials ban

25 October 2020, 13:39 | Updated: 25 October 2020, 13:46

Welsh Lead at the Police Federation Mark Bleasdale speaking with Tom on LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday.
Mark Bleasdale told Tom that it was “for shopkeepers to manage” the restrictions on the ban of non-essential items. Picture: LBC

By Joe Cook

The Welsh Lead at the Police Federation has told LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday he “couldn’t see a court deciding to prosecute” people over the ban on supermarket non-essentials, saying practical solutions are needed.

Mark Bleasdale told Tom it was “for shopkeepers to manage” the restrictions on the ban of non-essential items during Wales’ firebreak lockdown and that police officers will always use a “scaled approach”, with enforcement the last resort.

With videos circulating on social media of members of the public ripping plastic sheeting off items deemed non-essential in supermarkets, Mr Bleasdale said police are getting “caught in the middle of this”, with “feelings running high”.

“The longer this goes on there is going to be some - it has been quoted as ‘covid fatigue’,” he added.

“I think the difficulty is the message has still got to be very clear as to what people can and cannot do and why they are being asked to do it.

“That is maybe where this hasn’t been working, that the messaging isn’t clear from the government.”

Read more: 'Nanny state': Business leaders condemn non-essentials retail ban in Wales

Mark Bleasdale on Welsh restrictions

Earlier on Swarbrick on Sunday, the former secretary of state for Wales, Alun Cairns, described the non-essentials ban as “nonsensical” and a “dangerous precedent of socalism”.

Thanking Tom for “highlighting this issue”, the Conservative MP criticised the Welsh government's national lockdown and said it adds “insult to injury you are not even allowed to buy what they deem to be non-essential items”.

“It is the socialist structure, where one size fits all. They know better rather than following the science, which my constituents are calling for,” he continued.

Alun Cairns on Welsh Government's lockdown measures

Mr Cairns gave the example of a foster carer, who he said had emailed him after being unable to “source items quite late in the day for a child...because they were deemed non-essential”.

Challenged by Tom about what the police would do in this situation, Mr Bleasdale said: “If I was an operational police officer at the time and I was asked to do that, I would be contacting a local shop to see whether they would provide that for nothing. A practical solution.

“There will always be the narrow group of people in these circumstances that you and Mr Cairns have just mentioned, where I couldn’t see a court deciding to prosecute those people at the end of the day. So we would have to find some practical solution to it at the time.”

Handing out punishments was not the way police were enforcing the legislation he added: “I mean that isn’t the way that officers across Wales have been asked to interpret the law and put it into action.

“They will always use a scaled approach to any bits of the legislation. First of all explaining why it is in place and asking people to change their behaviour.

“Enforcement is always going to be a last option and that is a general policing principle.”

Shopper tears out barricades to children's clothing in Wales

More Tom Swarbrick

See more More Tom Swarbrick

UK should prepare for 'something close to war', Nato's deputy tells LBC, amid warning members have 'neglected defence'

UK should prepare for 'something close to war', Nato's Deputy General tells LBC, as he warns Russia 'cannot be trusted'

Emma Webber (left) speaking to LBC

Mother of Nottingham attack victim Barnaby Webber blasts police ‘mistruths’ after force is put in special measures

Lord Harrington said there should be a cap on the number of asylum seekers the UK takes.

Former refugees minister Lord Harrington calls for a cap on the number of asylum seekers the UK takes

Mel Stride has backed the PM

Rishi Sunak has 'absolutely not' betrayed nation over Rwanda plan, insists minister after Braverman's attack on PM

Tom and caller

'Our family is there': Mother shares heartbreaking experience of being a British Jew during Israel-Hamas conflict

The ban will be brought into effect in months

'Children should be in the classroom to learn': Gillian Keegan orders 'blanket ban' of mobile phones in schools

Tributes have been paid to Elianne after she was stabbed to death in Croydon

Fellow pupil of schoolgirl stabbed to death in Croydon describes heartbreaking moment students were told of her killing

Scotland's first safe drug consumption space set to be openned

'Isn't this just decriminalising heroin?': Tom Swarbrick questions Labour MSP over first safe drug consumption room

The education secretary discusses educational reforms with Tom Swarbrick

Shadow education secretary says 'Building Schools for the Future Programme' would have prevented Raac crisis

Tom Swabrick

'Is it not completely mental?': Tom Swarbrick astonished as schools shut due to crumble-risk concrete before new term

Exam results

Equation sheets given to GCSE cohort in attempt lessen reduced grade inflation blow, schools minister says

Crime commentator on Adam Provan

Internal review of rapist ex-Met officer is the equivalent of 'marking your own homework', says crime commentator

Education Secretary discuss new Eton free schools on LBC

‘Bailed out by Eton’: Education Secretary discusses new free schools with Tom Swarbrick

Lucy Letby: We have to know what went so 'catastrophically wrong' says Tom Swarbrick

Lucy Letby: We have to know what went so 'catastrophically wrong' says Tom Swarbrick

Lord Edward Garnier has called for a public inquiry into Andrew Malkinson's case

Top lawyer blasts Andrew Malkinson rape case as the 'worst miscarriage of justice of the 21st century'

Suella Barge

Suella Braverman can't be blamed for housing migrants on barge with Legionella, ConservativeHome editor says