(Mirror Daily, United States) – It turns out that law enforcement in England and Wales can get to pick and choose which laws they want to enforce and which they don’t. According to their police chiefs, they have no intention on fining people who break the new law that says smoking in vehicles is prohibited if there are underage passengers inside.
And they didn’t even wait a while, announcing their stance on the very day that the law was passed. Instead of being fined with £50 as they should, any citizens breaking the new legislature from now till New Year have nothing to fear – a warning is probably the worst that can happen.
Arguing that there no way “that there is a single person in this country who does not know that smoking kills,” the National Police Chiefs’ Council said that police forces are instructed to take an educational approach on the matter. Issuing warnings instead of fines will allow people to become aware of the new law and the offences that come with it.
In reality, however, the best way to build public awareness about a new law is by word of mouth; when people know someone who has been fined, they tend to change their behavior sooner rather than later.
But officers insist that there are worse crimes to deal with rather than the trivial matter of children getting poisoned with the dangerous chemicals and fumes they inhaling in the back of cars. Jayne Willetts of the Police Federation backs up this theory, saying that expecting officers to enforce this “creates an unnecessary extra layer of bureaucracy.”
It’s true that detectives have indeed investigations into rapes and murders to conduct and no one expects them to just drop everything they are doing for people smoking in cars. That is definitely not the case.
Instead, this should be seen as yet another offence to be added to the many other restrictions we have on driving – and you don’t see police officers complaining about enforcing those – such as mobile phone laws, seatbelt laws, drink driving laws, or the child seat laws. These have saves countless lives so far, and so will the new legislature.
Law enforcement might prefer dealing with smoking guns rather than smoking drivers, but it’s not up to them to decide which laws must be applied.
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