Police hand out over 3,000 COVID breach fines

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An officer on patrol
More than 3,000 fines have been handed out by police for breaches of Covid-19 laws in the Northumbria Police area, figures show.

As Home Secretary Priti Patel warned that officers “will not hesitate” to take action to safeguard the national recovery effort, data from by the National Police Chiefs Council shows 3,034 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued by Northumbria Police between March 27 and December 20 last year.

Of these, 793 were for breaches of coronavirus laws brought in during the first few months of the pandemic, 1,318 were linked to the tiered alert system in October, and 774 to the national lockdown which began in November.

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Of the fines, there were 137 for failing to wear a face covering when required, and 11 for breaching international travel rules.

There was one for holding a gathering of more than 30 people.

Nationally, police forces issued 32,329 notices, though the NPCC said there had been a downward trend in recent weeks.

Although the NPCC figures do not cover the Christmas and New Year period, the Home Secretary defended the way police have handed out fines for lockdown breaches so far, warning that officers “will not hesitate” to take action.

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Ms Patel said: “The vast majority of the public have supported this huge national effort and followed the rules.

“But the tragic number of new cases and deaths this week shows there is still a need for strong enforcement where people are clearly breaking these rules to ensure we safeguard our country’s recovery from this deadly virus.”