Update on Coronavirus FPNs issued by forces in England and Wales, and the payment of FPNs
This publication covers the enforcement, processing and payment of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) by police forces in England and Wales to the 27 February 2022. It also provides an updated snapshot of UK wide police absence, covering officers and staff.
This statistical publication is intended to be the final national level release of its kind, owing to the gradual ending of restrictions in England and Wales.
For more information on statistics and enforcement by forces following this release, please refer to the ACRO Criminal Records Office, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service and individual forces.
Coronavirus FPNs issued by police forces up to 27 February 2022
Police in England and Wales have processed a total of 118,978 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for breaches under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 and subsequent amendments.
The total processed by ACRO in England is now 106,913, and 12,065 in Wales up to 27 February 2022.
The majority of Health Protection Regulations, and police enforcement, ended in England on 19 July 2021. Very limited activity continued in England and Wales since July for Regulations relating to self-isolation, international travel and face coverings.
More information can be found here on the gradual easing of all restrictions, and relevant guidance for the public, in England and Wales.
Fixed Penalty Notices relating to recently active Regulations have been processed for the following reasons:
Face coverings in a relevant place
Since the re-introduction of face-covering Regulations in England on 30 November 2021, and up to their revocation on 27 January 2022, we can provisionally confirm that nine FPNs were issued.
International travel regulations
Since the last reported period, from 19 December 2021 to 27 February 2022, one FPN was issued in England relating to international travel.
In total, up to 27 February 2022, 831 FPNs have been processed in England relating to international travel. 37 have been processed in Wales.
FPNs were mostly issued for failure to self-isolate after arriving from a country on the UK Government Quarantine list, including red list countries, among other reasons.
Between 28 September 2020 and the revocation of the Regulation on 24 February 2022, 184 FPNs had been processed in England under the Self-Isolation Regulations.
84 FPNs were issued in Wales across the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (1) to (5) relating to self-isolation requirements.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Operation Talla, Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill said: “Everyone should continue being mindful of others when out and about, following the public health guidance in place for everyone’s safety – this virus is still within communities and is still leading to tragic loss of life.
“We have observed very high compliance of Regulations by the public throughout the pandemic. Officers have enforced where there were clear breaches of the rules or people haven't responded to explanation, engagement, and encouragement. The gradual ending of enforceable Coronavirus Regulations is a welcome development as we all move back to normal rhythms of life.”
Payment of Fixed Penalty Notices within the 28-day statutory payment period
Across all Regulations in England and Wales, 70,495 FPNs have been paid within the statutory 28-day payment period by those who received them.
2,755 FPNs were contested by recipients, and 51,353 were not paid with within the statutory 28-day payment period. These unpaid FPNs, and their outcome, are therefore a matter for the Courts. This is the standard procedure when an FPN is not paid within the relevant payment period.
Police forces have established thorough review processes for FPNs. Where an FPN is not paid, the matter is referred to the Courts for consideration. This is the standard procedure when an FPN is not paid within the relevant payment period. Further information on the review process for FPNs can be found here.
Individuals who did not wish to pay, could not pay, or contested their FPN were advised to contact their local force within the 28-day payment period and seek legal advice if appropriate. Recipients are entitled to contest their FPN in court, where means-testing is a possibility.
Payment rates for Covid FPNs are in line with what police would expect to see for other types of offence where FPNs are an appropriate outcome, such as for motoring offences.
For more information on the process relating to the issuance and payment of an FPN, please refer to the ACRO Criminal Records Office frequently asked questions site.
Forces have rescinded FPNs throughout the pandemic once further information was provided by recipients or following force review.
ACRO has collected £8.2 million from FPNs paid within the 28-day payment period. The funds from payments are held independently by ACRO, on behalf of the Home Office, until they can be distributed to local authorities in England and Wales.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Operation Talla, Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill said: “The majority of the public did their best to meet the letter and spirit of the regulations. The police approach of using the 4Es (Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce) process allowed for discretion and was rooted in our determination to police as we always have done in this country, with the consent of the public.
“Fixed Penalty Notices were given to those individuals - who following a process of engagement by officers, explanation of the rules and alleged breach, and encouragement for compliance – still refused to consider the safety of others during an unprecedented period. Enforcement was a last resort, for all regulations, and for all breaches. In the vast majority of interaction with the public, our officers were able to successfully encourage them to do the right thing, and these figures represent a tiny minority of the public who simply refused to follow the rules that were there to protect us all.”
UK Officer and Staff absence rate – 1 March 2022 snapshot
The national absence rate for officers and all staff, across all of UK policing, stands at 5.5 per cent.
Notes to Editors – Issuance of Coronavirus Fixed Penalty Notices by forces in England and Wales:
To provide a clear national snapshot of FPNs for a reporting period, the NPCC draws from ACRO Criminal Records Office data. The totals issued in this release reflect a mix of new FPNs issued in the latest reporting period, alongside additional processing, and cancellation of FPNs by ACRO for dates covered by previous releases.
There will always be a processing lag time between forces issuing a notice and ACRO Criminal Records Office processing. Actual force totals may therefore differ from the national totals presented in this release. For information on particular incidents please contact the relevant force.
For Face Coverings, relevant transport providers are also empowered to issue Fixed Penalty Notices within these Regulations. Our provisional figures only include enforcement by police forces.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 (England) and subsequent Amendments were revoked on 19 July 2021. Totals in this release relating to these Regulations account for all processing and recording held by ACRO up to 27 February 2022.
Regulations are still in effect in Wales. Regulations in England and Wales relating to International Travel, Face Coverings, Businesses and Self-Isolation continue/d to apply to varying and changing degrees since 19 July 2021. Enforcement notices will have been processed by ACRO for any breaches relating to these Regulations since 19 July 2021.
On the 17 May 2021, the International Travel regulations in England were revoked and replaced by the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Operator Liability) (England) Regulations 2021. Reporting in this release covers all FPNs issued for breaches relating to international travel. It does not include notices issued by Border Force.
Notes to editors – Payment of Fixed Penalty Notices within the 28-day statutory payment period:
The full amount paid to ACRO to date for Covid FPNs, within the 28-day payment period, is: £8,202,814
Funds held by ACRO from paid FPNs within the 28-day payment period are held on behalf of the Home Office and are marked for Local Authorities in England and Wales. These are held in a separate bank account used solely for this purpose until they can be distributed in tranches to local authorities in England and Wales. Information on transfers to Local Authorities are a matter for the Home Office.
If a recipient contests an FPN, ACRO returns the case to the relevant police force and is not involved in the next stages of the process. Outcomes of contested and non-compliant FPNs are a matter for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service.
Information on the process relating to the issuance and payment of an FPN by ACRO, please refer to the ACRO Criminal Records Office frequently asked questions
Information on the number of rescinded notices will be published in the spring, within an independent analysis of enforcement proportionality. Our first independent analysis can be found here.
Notes to editors – National police officer and staff absence rate:
We do not provide force level breakdowns of this data.
Forces have adapted and made necessary changes to working patterns within their own force resources to ensure they can meet demand from the public. No requests have been received for mutual aid in relation to absence during the pandemic.
Workforce absence figures include all absence, not simply absence related to the Omicron Variant or Covid generally. Overall absence will include frontline and non-frontline roles, those in public facing roles and not, those ill with other health circumstances, and those isolating and caring for others.
Policing has routinely prepared for scenarios which stress test our core service to the public, this is sensible resilience and civil contingencies planning and is managed both at a force level and by the National Police Coordination Centre.