PEOPLE in the Caerphilly area should think twice before they call Gwent Police with questions about the coronavirus lockdown, the county's chief superintendent has urged.

Chief Supt Mark Hobrough said Caerphilly residents are "largely complying" with the county-wide local lockdown, but Gwent Police are being swamped with calls about public health restrictions that could be directed elsewhere.

He said the force's 101 line had received countless calls from residents who want to "seek advice or guidance they aren't breaching the regulations".

"We're still getting that this week," he said. "We're very much trying to point people to the Welsh Government ( and Public Health Wales ( sites for up-to-date advice and answers to frequently-asked questions.

"It will help us deal with policing demands rather than be tied up in other ways."

That is especially important as crime levels return to "normal" following a slight decline during the early months of the pandemic, Chief Supt Hobrough added.

Caerphilly county borough has been in local lockdown since September 8 following what authorities called "a sharp increase in coronavirus cases".


The area is subject to stricter rules than elsewhere in Wales. People cannot enter or leave the area without good reason, and residents can only meet indoors with their household.

The forming of so-called extended households has been suspended, and everyone aged over 11 must wear a face mask in public indoor spaces unless they are exempt.

Chief Supt Hobrough said "the vast majority of people are on board" with the new rules but Gwent Police had, in recent days, received calls about possible lockdown breaches.

These reports include allegations of people gathering in public places, as well as possible breaches of the new Wales-wide rule on wearing masks in shops.

"Some people are exempt [from wearing a mask] - there's often a good reason for it," Chief Supt Hobrough said. "We're going through this period... of teething issues where everyone is getting on common ground."

Officers in Caerphilly have handed out a small number of fines, however, to people who were clearly breaking the rules - including to people who were travelling "well outside" the Caerphilly area to view a house.

But Chief Supt Hobrough said people had generally been supportive, allowing the police to focus on engagement with the public, rather than enforcement.

"I want to thank the public for complying, for their understanding, and for working with us," he said. "We don't want to be the Covid police. We are [playing] our part to ensure the law is being adhered to, but we want to do that through compliance, not enforcement.

"But we're not afraid to enforce - if people flout the law they leave us with no other option."