/More than 9,000 fines for virus lockdown breaches

More than 9,000 fines for virus lockdown breaches

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Police said the “vast majority” of people were following the rules

More than 9,000 fines have been issued in England and Wales for breaching coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Almost 400 of those fined are repeat offenders and one individual was fined six times, according to data from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

Meanwhile, calls about anti-social behaviour have more than doubled compared to the same period last year.

NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said that, while people may become “restless”, compliance was still holding up.

For the four weeks to 26 April there were around 215,000 anti-social behaviour reports, compared with 106,000 in 2019, NPCC data showed.

Many of the calls related to concerns over gatherings, noise or trouble in homes.

In England, there were 8,877 fixed penalty notices issued between 27 March and 27 April, while in Wales there were 299.

Police have been given powers to hand out a £60 penalty, reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks, for breaches of the lockdown rules. The fine is doubled for each repeat offence up to a £960 maximum.

Mr Hewitt said that, although most of the public were adhering to the restrictions, it would get harder as the weeks went on.

“It is inevitable people will get restless,” he said, adding that there were signs last weekend that more people were “out and about”.

“We would assess that over the weekend we sensed across the country a little bit more traffic on the roads and a few more people out and about,” he said.

“But having said all of that, we are still seeing the same level of compliance from people.”

‘Troublesome spots’

Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen said there were “definite correlations” when the weather was hot at “troublesome spots” such as beaches or parks.

She added the majority of those breaching lockdown restrictions were younger people.

Figures showed a third of those fined were aged between 18-24 and another third aged 25-34 while around eight out of 10 were men.

DCC Glen added that the vast majority of fines “are people actually not complying, being out in public spaces where they don’t have a reasonable excuse to do so, not listening to the officers’ advice in respect of engaging and explaining” why they are outside.

Police guidelines state households can go out for specific reasons, such as any medical needs, shopping for essential items or taking exercise.

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