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Smoking in cars with children: Police may not enforce fines

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From Thursday a new law that prohibits smokers from smoking in cars with children will come into effect, however police officers have stated that the law will not be enforced.

£50 fines

If caught, smokers can be given £50 fines, however police bosses have said they will instead give people warnings. The polices’ reluctance to enforce the law is devastating to ministers who have been pushing the legislation following reports that more than three million children are being exposed to dangerous cigarette smoke in their family car.

Guidance

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: ‘Forces will be following guidance from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health by taking an educational, advisory and non-confrontational approach.’

Meanwhile, a Department Of Health source has said that officials never expected police to hunt down offenders, whilst critics said it was unenforceable and unnecessary. The Police Federation has argued that police officers should not be expected to be health workers.

Lack of resources

Jayne Willetts said: ‘Making this an offence that officers are expected to enforce just creates an unnecessary extra layer of bureaucracy. With resources being cut, no force can prioritise their hard-pressed police officers’ time for this. It brings us back to the whole problem of police being “everything for everyone” and, now, health workers.

‘Meanwhile, we are struggling to find resources to stop crimes that have a much more dramatic impact on victims.’

Culture change

However, supporters of the Smoke-Free (Private Vehicles) Regulations 2015 hope the law will prompt a ‘cultural change’, as they expect smoking in a vehicle with under eighteens to become as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.

Professor Sally Davies, the Government’s chief medical officer, said: ‘We want children to grow up free from harm and we need parents to understand why smoking in vehicles is so dangerous. Eighty per cent of smoke is invisible so even if you think you are being careful you cannot see where the smoke is going.’

 

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About Siobhan Harmer

About Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan Harmer is an English Freelance writer who drinks far too much coffee!!

Website: Siobhan Harmer

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