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Update on Coronavirus FPNs issued by police

25 Feb 2021

Police in England and Wales have issued a total of 68,952 fixed penalty notices for breaches of Coronavirus restrictions up to 14 February. 

The latest provisional figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council show that 26,277 fines were processed between the end of the last reporting period, 17 January, and 14 February.  

The total issued in England is now 63,201 and 5,751 in Wales. 

Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, said: 

“We are still in a really dangerous stage of a pandemic which has killed more than 120,000 people. Eleven months on and back into a national lockdown, the rules are really clear and so it is frustrating that we still have a small number of completely defiant and irresponsible people who have no regard for the safety of themselves or others.  

“While we are still following our 4 E model of engage, explain, encourage and only using enforcement as a last resort, officers are not getting into a debate or discussion with these people about what the rules are or whether they are necessary. We all know we must wear a face covering in a shop or on a bus and we all know we can’t meet up in groups.   

“We’re taking a common sense approach, applying discretion and judgement when engaging with the public. But common sense would dictate that someone having a party is well aware what they are doing is wrong and has made an informed decision to do it anyway. 

“Our extra dedicated patrols across the country will continue to support those of us making significant sacrifices in following the rules by taking enforcement action against those who are not.” 

Fixed penalty notices were issued for the following reasons: 

Large gatherings (£10,000 fine) 

  • 272 FPNs have now been issued relating to holding a gathering of more than thirty people in England and three in Wales. 
  • These include, but are not limited to, unlicensed music events, protests and private parties 

Participating in a gathering of more than 15 people (£800 fines) 

  • 485 FPNs have been issued under regulations requiring people not to participate in a gathering of more than 15 people 

Face coverings 

  • 2,344 FPNs were issued between 15 June and 14 February for breaches of the Face Coverings Regulations in England.  
  • 456 of these fines were issued for failure to wear a face covering on public transport. 
  • 1,888 fines were issued for failure to wear a face covering in a relevant place, such as a retail setting. 

Businesses  

  • 582 FPNs were issued to businesses up to 14 February. 
  • The main reasons for the issuance of an FPN included: Businesses not enforcing face covering regulations; businesses refusing to close during the emergency period or refusing to close during restricted hours, gatherings of more than the restricted number taking place within a business; businesses not adhering to the table service only rules. 

International travel regulations 

  • Up until 14 February 402 FPNs were issued by police forces in England to those failing to self-isolate after arriving from a country on the UK Government Quarantine list. Three were issued in Wales. 
  • Up until 14 February: 
  • 13,706 cases investigated by officers found an individual to be complying with the regulations, with no further action being necessary. 
  • 591 cases found a person to be in breach of the regulation, but no further action was necessary as they were successfully encouraged to self-isolate using the 4-Es approach. 
  • 1,124 cases saw officers attend an address only to find that nobody with the relevant name lived at that address so no further enforcement action could be taken. 
  • 1,419 cases resulted in no answer at all when officers attended an address, with no further enforcement action possible. 
  • Regulations around red countries and hotel quarantine were introduced on 15 February and so police issued FPNs for these breaches will be covered in the next release of data. 

The full breakdown of FPNs can be found within the attached data pack

Examples of police action in the past few weeks includes: 

  • Shut down an illegal nightclub in Birmingham with more than 150 people packed inside over two floors. Officers faced violence as they acted to protect the public and one was injured by a door smashed open as those inside tried to get out and away from police. 
  • In Greater Manchester officers discovered a party which had descended into violence with reports of up to 50 people fighting. Work is now underway to track those who made off as police arrived. 
  • In South London an officer was admitted to hospital with a dislocated shoulder and a knee injury after attending reports of a mass gathering. Glass, bricks and other objects were thrown at officers and seven others were also injured. The officer is now recovering at home and a 42-year-old woman has been charged in connection. 
  • A woman has been jailed for 16 weeks after pleading guilty to deliberately coughing on officers in Scarborough who had been dispatched to investigate a breach of Coronavirus regulations. 

Provisional figures released today show the year on year rise in assaults on emergency workers continues. They are 14% higher in the month to 14 February compared to the year before. 

Martin Hewitt added:

“We are still seeing people threatening to infect officers with the virus and coughing or spitting on them. This is disgusting and anyone who does this can expect to be arrested and prosecuted.” 

Notes on the data: 

  • In order to provide a clear national snapshot of FPNs for a reporting period, the NPCC draws from ACRO data. The totals issued in this release reflect a mix of new FPNs issued in the latest reporting period, alongside additional processing and cancellation by ACRO for dates covered by previous releases. There will always be a processing lag time between forces issuing a notice and ACRO processing it. Actual force totals may therefore differ from the national totals presented in this release. 
  • International Travel Quarantine fines: Police only become involved after a referral from UK Border Force via their triage centre. Totals are for police issued fines only and do not include those issued by Border Force. College of Policing guidance states that where police are unable to get an answer following a visit to an address, then additional follow-up visits are suggested. If there is still no answer, the times and dates of the visits should be recorded and fed back to Border Force via the triage centre. For any questions about penalties issued at the Border, triage centre referrals, and information concerning the Passenger Locator Form, please contact Border Force. 
  • Payment of FPNs: At this stage we are unable to provide individual force totals or payment proportions for Regulations which still have payment periods outstanding. We have committed to publishing this at a later date. If an FPN is contested or not complied with within the 28 day payment period, the case becomes a matter for HM Courts and Tribunals Service following a force level review.