Nearly 18,000 fines issued for coronavirus rule breaches
Nearly 18,000 fines have been handed out to people for alleged breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules, with the numbers falling as restrictions are eased.
A total of 17,997 fixed penalty notices (FPNs), including 15,715 in England and 2,282 in Wales, were recorded by forces up to June 8, according to provisional data released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) on Thursday.
Some 1,526 tickets were issued in England since Covid-19 restrictions were first eased on May 13 with just 161 handed out from June 1, when groups of six people were allowed to meet outdoors.
There were 523 fines in the latest two-week period between May 26 and June 8 – although the figure could be revised upwards as more fines are reported – compared to 1,171 in the previous fortnight and 4,796 in the two weeks before that.
The NPCC said fines have been handed to people for driving with others who are not members of their household, house parties, large gatherings and camping.
NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said: “We’re now near to closing the first month away from full lockdown.
“Soon, shops will be open again, and there will be more people outdoors going about their business.
“Our approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging continues to be successful. Since measures eased in England, the number of fines issued has seen a sustained fall.
“Behind each fine is a case where someone has failed to listen and do the right thing.
“A fine is issued following engagement to establish the circumstances, explanation of what the regulations are and why they’re in breach of them, and encouragement to stop their activity and return home.”
The NPCC said most fines are still handed to young men, aged between 18 and 24, and are most likely to be given at weekends and during spells of warmer weather.
Police were given powers to break up gatherings and fine people for breaching restriction of movement rules under the Health Protection Regulations 2020, from March 27.
The fines carried penalties of £60, reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks, with the fine doubled for each repeat offence up to a £960 maximum.
Higher fines were brought in England – £100, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days, and rising to a maximum of £3,200 for subsequent offences – from May 13.