Welsh Govt must not Snorlax over Pokémon Go safety threats

The Welsh Government has been accused of a “complacent and worrying” attitude, as Welsh Conservatives reveal that no consideration has been given to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians following the recent launch of the Pokémon Go computer game.

Shadow Transport Secretary Russell George AM has forced the Welsh Government to admit that “no specific assessments have been carried out on the transport network” as the Android and iOS free-to-play game continues to take Wales by storm.

This is despite reports – across the UK - of members of the public walking into traffic whilst playing the game, and other traffic incidents occurring as a consequence of the public being distracted by Pokémon Go.

Road safety is supposed to form a key component of the responsibilities of the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure.

Shadow Transport Secretary, Montgomeryshire AM, Russell George AM said:

“Pokémon Go is great fun - and, played in moderation, can have a series of benefits for public health and social interaction.

“Within my own constituency, people are enjoying looking for Pidgeys, Rattatas, Magikarps and others in the beautiful Powys countryside!

“However, with this game so popular across Wales, there are important safety considerations which the Welsh Government must take on board. Sadly, their complete inaction is both complacent and worrying.

“The Welsh Government should be working with Wales' Police forces and other road safety bodies to ensure people enjoy this game safely in safe Pokémon spaces, and that road traffic accidents are avoided.”

Welsh Conservatives have also called on the Welsh Government to promote child safety in conjunction with the game, working with third sector bodies and other relevant stakeholders.

Shadow Secretary for Children, Darren Millar AM, said:

“We’ve heard some serious, and important warnings from organisations – such as the NSPCC – that, if safety measures are not taken, the Pokémon Go game can risk putting younger people into dangerous situations.

“The Welsh Government must take this seriously – and work with key stakeholders to ensure children understand the importance of having adequate security and reporting functions in place; so they can enjoy catching, trading and battling Pokémon in safe and familiar surroundings.”