Councils link up with South Wales Police to help hospitality businesses tackle COVID-19

South Wales Police have joined forces with Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Council’s to help hospitality and other businesses slow the spread of Covid-19

As communities across the city begin the countdown to Christmas, the council’s public health and licensing teams have set up Joint Enforcement Teams (JETs) with local police officers to support businesses to do their bit.

Since the start of the pandemic officers from both organisations have been working hard to offer advice and support to businesses and to take enforcement action where necessary.

JETs will be out and about across the city this weekend to support pubs and restaurants to do the right thing for the Wales v England rugby game on Saturday.

Chief Superintendent Andy Valentine, who is leading the South Wales Police response to Covid-19, said: “Throughout this pandemic we have adopted a policing style of explaining the rules, encouraging people to comply with them and only using enforcement as a last resort.

“That will continue and although we have been given additional powers by Welsh Government and the establishment of Joint Enforcement Teams we will continue to ensure that our approach to enforcement is sensible.”

Swansea Central Police Station (Image: Jaggery / Geograph)

Cllr Rob Jones, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council and WLGA spokesperson for Community Safety said: “We welcome the formation of the Joint Enforcement Teams and are confident this additional resource will further strengthen the partnership work which has been critical in responding to the pandemic.

“In Neath Port Talbot we are already seeing the benefits on the ground, with visits by the JET team this past weekend resulting in two improvement notices issued to venues that were not in compliance.

“To slow the spread of the virus it is vital that those who are flouting the rules do not undermine the efforts of the majority of people and businesses, who are making every effort to keep our communities safe.”

Ambassador and Presidents Bar, Neath (Image: Google Maps)

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said establishing JETs is a significant step which will help businesses, the council and the police to take further action to slow the spread of the virus.

He said: “We cannot lose sight of the fact the virus is still with us and we all need to play our part in slowing its spread. I want to thank South Wales Police for increasing their policing presence to support actions designed to keep our communities safe.
“Since the launch of the JETs earlier this month the partnership has made a real difference in our work with businesses to improve public safety by, engagement, education and ultimately enforcement where required.”

“This innovative approach to joint working could be a template for further collaboration in the future.”

Police Officer patrolling Swansea Marina (Image: South Wales Police)

Phil Roberts, Chief Executive of Swansea Council, said: “While the council has always worked closely with South Wales Police on issues of joint concern, the JETs initiative takes co-operation to a new level that can only benefit our communities.

“Our joint message to businesses and customers alike is that we want people to enjoy their time out, but enjoy it safely. Businesses need to abide by the regulations and their customers need to listen and act on the guidance they are given.

“JET teams are there to encourage people to do their bit. But they will also take enforcement action to issue improvement orders, fixed penalty notices or close premises down if that’s what is needed.

“These are hard times and we’ve all been asked to change our behaviour and do the right thing to protect ourselves, our families and our communities. It’s sometimes difficult, we understand that. But we can get through this together if we all do our bit.”

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