Fines not issued for smoking in cars with under 18s

Figures suggest that police are choosing to not enforce the new law which prevents people from smoking in cars with children present.

In October 2015 new legislation was announced making it illegal to smoke in cars where children under the age of 18 are present.

When the law was enforced in October it was welcomed as “a landmark in protecting children,” however since the law came into force only three police forces in England and Wales have reported cases of smoking in cars and all incidents received verbal warnings.

The forces include Dyfed-Powys Police, which issued four warnings, Metropolitan Police which issued two and Devon & Cornwall police who have only issued one.

The law which came into force on 1 October 2015 meant that if any driver or passenger were caught smoking in the car with someone under the age of 18 present they’d be fined £50.

Freedom of Information has revealed that no fines have been issued by the 42 police forces in England and Wales that have responded.

Devon and Cornwall Police Federation spokesperson Nigel Rabbits said: “It is poor legislation that hasn’t been thought through and it’s very difficult to enforce because you are talking about looking at a vehicle and trying to figure out what’s going on inside.

“If you’re looking for someone under the age of 18 that’s difficult without stopping the vehicle and once the vehicle has been stopped getting the evidence for prosecution is extremely difficult.”

He stated that the new law left police forces confused, adding that although police can enforce the law it is the responsibility of the local authority to pursue the case further.

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