SYP report surge in coronavirus fines
South Yorkshire Police have reported a huge surge in coronavirus fines, with three-quarters of all fines issued since Christmas.
Nationwide, police have issued 110,322 fixed penalty notices for breaches of coronavirus laws since the start of the pandemic.
But, a report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights said that authorities had overwhelmingly misunderstood the Coronavirus Act, and that it had been wrongly applied by police.
Harriet Harman, JCHR chair, said:
“The police have had a difficult job in policing the pandemic.
“We hope that their initial approach – to engage, explain and encourage before issuing fixed penalty notices – will continue.
“However, since January there have been greater numbers of FPNs as police move more quickly to enforcement action.”
The report added:
“It is astonishing that the Coronavirus Act is still being misunderstood and wrongly applied by police to such an extent that every single criminal charge brought under the Act has been brought incorrectly.”
Responding to the situation, Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, said:
“We’re continuing to take encouraging steps out of lockdown. The number of fines processed have gone down again in the past four weeks, which is to be expected as restrictions are lifted.
“All of our hard work and sacrifice is paying off, and to ensure we continue to move in this direction, it’s important we keep the threat of COVID-19 at the forefront of our minds and stick to the rules at each stage of the roadmap.
“Our officers will continue to carry out patrols and will engage with the public to keep explaining the restrictions which remain in place at the time.”