Did police go too far when they placed signs around Pembrokeshire which told residents they could be arrested for driving?

The signs tell Pembrokeshire residents they will be fined for driving to exercise and vehicle details will be recorded for possible future arrests.

Welsh coronavirus laws make no mention of the public not being allowed to drive for exercise.

The regulations say a person can leave their house only with a reasonable excuse including "to take exercise, no more than once a day, either alone or with other members of the household".

Guidance for police officers, which referenced similar English coronavirus law, was updated earlier this week to make it clear that people are allowed to drive short distances for exercise.

The College of Policing guidance said: “People will want to exercise locally and may need to travel to do so, we don’t want the public sanctioned for travelling a reasonable distance to exercise."

This was confirmed by health minister Matt Hancock at a press briefing on Friday (March 3), where he said people should be able to drive for five minutes.

Regarding taking details of vehicles the signs said: "The details of your vehicle have been recorded and further infractions could result in fine and or arrest."

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed they placed the signs around Pembrokeshire but said they had not recorded any details of vehicles.

Western Telegraph:

One concerned Haverfordwest resident, who asked not to be named, drove home after seeing the signs at the Haverfordwest Racecourse.

He said: "On arrival, I noticed a large poster from Dyfed Powys Police advising me that using my car to access dog walking spaces was now forbidden and that my registration number would be taken, with a fine resulting if I did it again.

"As a result, I returned to my house straight away and walked back to the racecourse, a distance of about one mile."

The resident said the walk made it impossible not to come into contact with other people.

"I passed nine people who, because we were on the pavement, passed within the recommended two metres of me," he said.

"So instead of a simple and safe five minute car journey, I exposed myself to possible infection nine times.

"This did not include the two times I had to push the button on Pelican crossings - another potential source of infection.

"I get it that we do not want people travelling large distances and bringing potential infection into the area, but the interpretation put on this by Dyfed Powys Police seems counter-intuitive."

A police spokesperson admitted they had put up the signs and said accurate material had now been issued.

“Signs were put in place late last week as officers worked to manage the high level of visitors travelling to and around Pembrokeshire," a police spokesperson said.

"Corporate material has since been issued which focuses on engaging and encouraging residents to stay at home, and reminding visitors of the government instruction on essential travel.

“At this stage no number plates have been stored for future fines.”