Surge in coronavirus fines issued by Humberside Police at start of the year, new figures show
Hundreds of fines were issued by police in Humberside for breaches of Covid-19 laws over Christmas and the start of this year, figures show – more than half of all fines issued since the start of the pandemic.
The fines approach by police nationally has been called into question by MPs and peers who, in demanding a review, have described the fines as “muddled, discriminatory and unfair”.
In a report, the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) said the Coronavirus Act had been misunderstood and wrongly applied by police
Figures published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) reveal a total of 407 fixed penalty notices were recorded as being issued by Humberside Police between March 27 last year and April 18 this year.
They include 238 fines after December 20 – 58% of the total handed out by officers since the pandemic began.
However, the figures do show a slowing down in the number of fines issued over more recent weeks, with 151 given out by officers between March 14 and April 18.
Across England and Wales, police forces have issued 110,322 fixed penalty notices under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations.
However, the JCHR has criticised the system, raising concerns over the validity of the fines, the inadequacy of the review and appeal process and the size of penalties.
In April, measures were further relaxed with the opening of retail, public buildings and holiday lets.
The NPCC said it would be considering the recommendations in the JCHR report.
Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill, NPCC lead for the police response to Covid-19, said: “Policing has quickly adapted to changes in these unprecedented circumstances.
“When new regulations are issued, we ensure officers have additional guidance on the legislation and we continue to support them to reduce any errors in its application.
“We do recognise however that we have not got it right in every circumstance.”
He added that the NPCC would work with its criminal justice partners to rectify any errors.