Police do not have adequate resources to enforce the new laws on smoking in cars in Lancashire, it has been claimed.
The Lancashire Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, has raised concerns over the new rules, which are “way down the list” of priorities.
People are asking ‘is this realistic that police should be expected to deal with it?’ Our response is: no
Since October 1, it has been illegal to smoke in a car when a child under the age of 18 is present.
Rachel Baines, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation, said the change is placing an even greater burden on the force.
She said: “People are asking ‘is this realistic that police should be expected to deal with it?’ Our response is: no.
“We have not got the resources to enforce this type of crime. I am not saying it is not important – of course it is.
“But in terms of prioritising, that is way down the list.”
Anyone caught smoking while a child is in the vehicle can now be fined £50.
A driver who allows someone to smoke while carrying a child passenger can also receive the same fine.
The new law has been welcomed by campaigners and health professionals.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Government’s chief medical officer, said: “This legislation is a landmark in protecting children from secondhand smoke.
“Smoking just a single cigarette in a vehicle exposes children to high levels of air pollutants and cancer-causing chemicals like arsenic, formaldehyde and tar, and people often wrongly assume that opening a window, or letting in fresh air, will lessen the damage.”
Fiona Smith, a Royal College of Nursing spokesman said: “This is a positive step towards protecting children from the harmful effects of smoking.
“It’s now crucial that these rules are fully enforced.”