Police hand out nearly 7,000 Covid rule fines
Police in the North East have handed out nearly 7,000 fines for breaches of coronavirus-related laws during the pandemic, new figures show.
Figures published by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPSS) show 6,923 fixed penalty notices were issued by Northumbria Police between March 27 2020 and December 19 last year.
Nationally, 124,581 fines have been issued by police, British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence for alleged breaches of Covid-19-related laws.
The figures came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is embroiled in a row over a series of parties and events at Downing Street which are currently the subject or an investigation over whether virus-related laws were broken.
Of the fixed penalty notices issued in England and Wales so far, 377 were for holding a gathering of more than 30 people – with one issued in the in Northumbria Police area.
An NPCC spokesman said all forces have first sought to engage and explain Covid laws to people, and only enforce fixed penalty notices when necessary.
Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill, NPCC lead for Operation Talla, the police response to the pandemic, said there are still some restrictions – such as the use of face coverings and self-isolation rules – in place for good reason.
He added: “We have observed very high compliance by the public.
"Our officers have very rarely had to use their powers in recent months and are only enforcing the rules where there are clear breaches of the rules or people haven't responded to explanation and encouragement.”