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More than 42,000 fines issued by police for breaching coronavirus laws

Written by on 28/01/2021

More than 42,000 fines have been issued by police for breaches of coronavirus laws since they came into force, figures show.

Data published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) on Thursday shows a total of 42,675 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued by forces in England and Wales between 27 March 2020 and 17 January this year.

The NPPC said 80% of all coronavirus notices, including 38,452 in England and 4,223 in Wales, were given to those aged between 18 and 39.

Some 250 £10,000 fines have been handed to organisers of mass gatherings of more than 30 people, including illegal raves, parties and protests, in England, with two in Wales.

The report said there has been an upward trend in fines beginning in the week before Christmas as tiers were tightened in England before another national lockdown.

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A total of 2,564 fines were issued in the seven days to 14 January, compared with 2,225 the previous week.

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The number of weekly fines peaked at 3,294 during the week of the Easter Bank Holiday in April.

NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said: “We have seen a noticeable increase in enforcement in the last month.”

Police presence before a proposed anti-lockdown protest in Clapham Common, London.
Image: Police have been issuing fines to people who have breached coronavirus laws

For face coverings, the NPCC figures showed a total of 1,319 fines were issued between 15 June and 17 January in England, including 251 on public transport and 1,068 in relevant places such as shops.

The data also shows 407 fixed penalty notices have been handed to businesses across 29 forces in England for breaches of regulations that came into force in September, including failures to enforce face-covering regulations, unlawfully staying open, hosting large gatherings or not sticking to table service rules.

And 332 fines have been issued by forces in England and three in Wales, to people failing to self-isolate after arriving from a country on the government quarantine list.

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Mr Hewitt added: “We are doing what we said we would, moving more quickly to enforcement where there are clear breaches of the rules.

“This seriously dangerous stage of the virus and national lockdown have led to more proactive patrols by forces and more FPNs have been issued as a result.

“We know most people are doing their best to follow the rules, however there is a stubborn minority who are not taking personal responsibility and continue to put people at risk.

“The most effective way to reduce the virus spreading and to avoid getting a fine, is for people to comply with the regulations and to stay home unless they have an exemption which applies to them.”

The number of fines has been revealed as it emerged a third of police officers have been threatened with infection of COVID-19 by a member of the public, according to research.

A survey by the Police Federation of England and Wales found that 30% had faced being spat at by someone claiming to have the coronavirus in the past six months.

Over three nights Sky News will host a series of special programmes examining the UK’s response to the pandemic.

Watch COVID Crisis: Learning the Lessons at 8pm on 9, 10 and 11 February

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