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Update on Coronavirus FPNs issued by police – March 2021

26 Mar 2021

Police in England and Wales have processed a total of 94,368 fixed penalty notices for breaches of Coronavirus restrictions up to 14 March 2021. 

The latest provisional figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council show that 25,416 fines were processed in the latest reporting period.

The total processed in England is now 85,975 and 8,393 in Wales. 

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

“While it is encouraging to see that the number of fines processed in the last month has decreased, a small number of people continue to defy the rules, putting themselves and other at risk of the virus. It is particularly frustrating to see the groups of selfish and irresponsible people organising and attending illegal parties and unlicenced music events – they clearly have no regard for the rules and we move quickly to enforcement in these cases.

“Looking ahead as restrictions start to ease, we will be focusing our efforts on these types of large indoor gatherings. Any person who organises or attends these events clearly doesn’t need the regulations explaining to them and we will not hesitate to issue fines where necessary.

“As the rules change in the coming days, weeks and months, we can expect crime, including violent crime, to return to pre-lockdown levels. All forces have robust plans in place to deal with violence and clamp down on violent offenders. The national operation to target people carrying weapons will run again this Spring.

“The government’s roadmap dates for coming out of lockdown does give people hope and some light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot become complacent. It is vital people continue to follow the rules at each stage when restrictions are eased. Otherwise, we risk undermining our efforts up to now.

“Our officers will be more visible at key dates in the roadmap, to engage with public and keep explaining the restrictions which remain in place at the time, and we hope the public will continue to support us in our efforts to prevent the further spread of the virus.”

Fixed penalty notices were processed for the following reasons: 

Large gatherings (£10,000 fine) 

    • 284 FPNs have now been processed 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) 

    • 1,647 FPNs have been processed under regulations requiring people not to participate in a gathering of more than 15 people.

Face coverings 

    • 3,140 FPNs were processed between 15 June and 14 March for breaches of the Face Coverings Regulations in England.  
    • 547 of these fines were processed for failure to wear a face covering on public transport. 
    • 2,593 fines were processed for failure to wear a face covering in a relevant place, such as a retail setting. 

Businesses  

    • 687 FPNs were processed to businesses up to 14 March. 
    • 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 March 508 FPNs have been processed in England for those failing to self-isolate after arriving from a country on the UK Government Quarantine list. Three have been processed in Wales. 

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

Examples of police action in the past few weeks includes: 

  • Officers from the Metropolitan Police disrupted an illegal rave that had been set up at a disused bank in Southall in the early hours on Sunday 7 March. They discovered that 44 people had made their way through a gap in the fence and inside the building to set up DJ equipment with speakers.
  • Three illegal parties were shut down by Leicestershire Police in the early hours on Saturday 27 February. The parties all happened between 12:15am and 2:50am, where crowds were dispersed, and a total of 35 fines were issued.
  • On Wednesday 17 March, South Yorkshire Police attended an illegal party being held at Bole Hill Recreation Ground in Sheffield, where it was reported a DJ was playing music and barbeques were being used. Officers dispersed a group of around 100 people.
  • In Liverpool, officers from Merseyside Police responded to a report that a large gathering was taking place at a house. When officers attended the premises to disrupt the gathering, it was reported that a machete was thrown at police from an upstairs window and a large number of people made off from inside the property. A diary of ‘party flat’ bookings was seized by police and 14 people were issued with fines.

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.