Police had more than 200,000 calls about lockdown flouters while officers handed out 8,997 fines for breaches in last month – as data reveals Britain’s biggest covidiots are men under 30
- One ‘covidiot’ has been given six fixed penalty notices in the past month
- There have been 397 people who have been fined more than once by police
- Fining peaked over Easter weekend when Britain baked in temperatures of 26C
- Average person fined is a white man aged between 18 and 29, police have said
- Forces received 200,000-plus Covid-related called in month – up from 106,000
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Police have handed out more than 9,000 fines to people in England and Wales for flouting the new coronavirus lockdown laws – including 397 repeat offenders, it was revealed today.
One so-called ‘covidiot’ has been given six fixed penalty notices in the past month after refusing the comply with the rules to stop the spread of the virus that has claimed 26,097 lives in the UK.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said 8,877 tickets have been handed out by forces in England between March 27 and April 27, while 299 were issued in Wales over the same period.
These peaked on the Easter weekend with an average of 500 fines per day issued as temperatures reached 26C [79f] and people held parties, BBQs or headed to the local park or beach.
Forces have also had 214,000 calls from the public with tip-offs about people breaching the social distancing rules in the past month – compared with 106,000 for the same period last year.
And revealing a picture of who has been fined for refusing to stay at home, eight out of ten fines were given to men – and 54 per cent of rebels were aged between 18 and 29. In cases where ethnicity was recorded, 58 per cent of people were white, ten per cent were Asian and four per cent were black.
Police have been given powers to hand out a £60 penalty, that is reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks, for breaches of the Government’s restriction of movement rules. Repeat offenders face fines of up to £960 and arrest.
A Police officer speaks with a lone person in St James Park as people enjoyed the sunshine over the weekend as it was revealed 9,000 people have been fined £60 or more
Police have broken down fines day by day but officers have found that the better the weather the more they have had to bring enforcement
There were 8,877 fines in total in the past month – with the most handed out in Lancashire
One of the known repeat offenders was Mohammed Boshaala, 23, who told Greater Manchester Police officers ‘they can f*** off’ when he was caught breaching the coronavirus lockdown for the fourth time in five days in the city centre last week.
Across the city Steven Mackie, 53, was arrested outside a Tesco store in Stalybridge last Saturday after within 15 minutes he twice flouted emergency restrictions brought in place to attempt to halt the spread of the virus.
One parent was fined by Lincolnshire Police officers because his child ‘repeatedly breached’ Covid-19 rules.
NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said that fines were only being issued in circumstances when people were refusing to leave the area and go home.
He added: ‘As the latest provisional figures on the number of fines issued show, the vast majority of people continue to do the right thing, staying at home in order to protect the NHS and help save lives.
‘The figures also show our use of the enforcement powers remains proportionate with just 0.02% of the population in England being issued with a fine.’
Boris Johnson has been told to ‘get a grip’ by police chiefs over nonsensical lockdown rules that saw lone sunbathers scolded but hundreds allowed to gather outside B&Qs across Britain last weekend.
With no exit plan in sight, large numbers of Britons went out to shop and enjoy the weather over the weekend amid fears the lockdown appears to be unravelling.
Police were seen speaking to individuals sunbathing alone or with a partner in Greenwich Park, Hyde Park and St James’ Park in London.
Yet B&Q’s decision to reopen 130 stores saw massive queues forming outside its outlets in Watford, Edinburgh, Bristol and Swansea, as people used the shutdown to catch up on DIY.
Hundreds were allowed to queue to enter this B&Q in Watford as Ken Marsh, chair of the Met Police Federation, said the rules ‘don’t make sense’
What ARE the lockdown rules?
Regulation 6 of the The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 states no person may leave the place where they live without a reasonable excuse.
The National Police Chief’s Council has released its interpretation of what constitutes a ‘reasonable excuse’:
It classifies explains its interpretation of how the law relates to everday activities.
It defines activites that are likely to be reasonable as:
– Buying several days’ worth of food, including luxury items and alcohol.
– Buying tools and supplies to repair a fence panel damaged in recent bad weather.
– Exercise including: going for a run or cycle or practicing yoga. Walking in the countryside or in cities. Attending an allotment.
– Stopping to rest or to eat lunch while on a long walk.
It defines activities that are ‘not likely to be reasonable’ as:
– Buying paint and brushes, simply to redecorate a kitchen
– A short walk to a park bench, when the person remains seated for a much longer period
– A person who can work from home choosing to work in a local park.
By way of explanation on each area it adds:
Shopping – There is no need for all a person’s shopping to be basic food supplies; the purchase of snacks and luxuries is still permitted. In general terms, a person has a reasonable excuse to visit the shops which remain open to customers under the Regulations.
If a person is already out of the address with good reason, then it would not be proportionate to prevent the person from buying nonessential items. Food could include hot food from takeaways.
Exercise – Exercise must involve some movement, but it is acceptable for a person to stop for a break in exercise. However, a very short period of ‘exercise’ to excuse a long period of inactivity may mean that the person is not engaged in ‘exercise’ but in fact something else.
Home improvements –
The regulations specify maintenance and upkeep. This does not extend to renovation and improvements.
Ken Marsh, chair of the Met Police Federation, said: ‘You can’t have a scenario where police are telling two people in a park not to sit on a bench but 50 yards away there’s 300 people, can’t put a fag packet between them, queuing to go into a DIY store’.
He told TalkRadio : ‘If officers are confused about all this then so will the public be.
‘Police officers are on the front line of combating the coronavirus crisis. We need clear and unambiguous laws, guidance and communication from the Government around what the public can and can’t do. What is essential and what isn’t’.
There have been signs that the public’s temperance was creaking as beaches in Brighton and Bournemouth as well as parks all over the UK were busier than they had been over the past five weeks.
Various forces have highlighted the most flagrant breaches of the guidance they have come across on social media – but others have complained of a heavy-handed approach.
Devon and Cornwall Police fined a couple from Kent for driving around 300 miles for a ‘mini-break’ by the sea. Their car was confiscated after the driver was found to have no licence or insurance.
Ten people from London who travelled 245 miles to go walking in North Wales were sent home and reported by police for breaking lockdown rules.
The group, travelling in two separate vehicles, had travelled the five-hour journey from the capital earlier on Sunday.
But they were stopped by police near their destination on the A5 in Bethesda.
They told officers they were intending to go walking in Snowdonia, the mountainous National Park in North Wales.
Instead, officers from North Wales Police, who tweeted brief details of the incident, reported them for breaching lockdown laws.
Two couples from Slough have been sent packing by police after they turned up at an Airbnb 100 miles away in Gloucestershire for a weekend break in flagrant breach of lockdown rules.
The incident near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, was one of several breaches reported in the area over weekend.
The two couples were warned and told to leave the county by the police.
Officers in the same area of Gloucestershire also shut down a hand car wash and gave warnings to people attending BBQs and house parties.
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