Posted on: Friday 15 January 2021
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on the lives of us all, and with the threat expected to continue until the effects of the vaccine are seen, Torfaen Council’s Public Protection service continues to play a vital role in helping to prevent transmission.
In November, with money from the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 hardship fund, the council were able to recruit a team of Covid Enforcement Officers to keep individuals, business and organisations in Torfaen safe.
The new Covid Enforcement Team, which comprises five Enforcement Officers, worked throughout December, including over Christmas and the New Year to keep Torfaen residents safe. Their role is primarily focused on educating people on the rules, persuading them to comply, and as a last resort, taking enforcement action against those who deliberately break the rules.
The team monitors compliance and enforces the regulations applicable to businesses and organisations, while the Police enforce the regulations that apply to individuals. They respond to complaints from members of the public and work hand in hand with the NHS Test, Trace, Protect service. The team also promotes Covid-19 secure behaviour in public spaces, working alongside the Police and other partner organisations, to make our communities safer.
Councillor Mandy Owen, Executive Member for the Environment said: “We want residents to know that our Covid Enforcement Team are there for them. Our trained officers take a friendly, balanced and considered approach to engaging with residents and businesses to inform, support and educate them on the latest Welsh Government Covid-19 regulations and guidance.
“As well as educating our communities, the team will take appropriate enforcement action where necessary. Enforcement is a last resort and formal action will only be taken when public health is being compromised. We would much rather businesses are open and operating safely where they are permitted. Businesses and residents have a role to play in getting this virus under control. The Council urges everyone to follow the rules and help to bring us one step closer to containing the virus”.
Harriet Fowler, Covid Enforcement Officer said: “As a team we are here to help protect the health of Torfaen residents. Our team is made up of a mixture of graduates who have degrees in environmental health to ex Police Officers, so we have a wealth of experience between us.
“Don’t be afraid to come and talk to us if you see us (keeping a 2 metre distance) we are here to help. The Covid-19 rules and regulations have changed so frequently we know many people are confused about what they can and can’t do – that’s where we come in.
“As a last resort we can issue legal notices, including Fixed Penalty Notices if businesses are not following the regulations, but this really is the last resort. We would much rather engage with people, explain the regulations and legislation to them, and encourage them to follow the legislation and regulations before of going down the enforcement route.”
If you have any concerns about a business operating illegally during the lockdown or have any concerns or questions please contact the team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 01495 762200.
Keep Torfaen Safe.