Thames Valley Police issues fifth highest number of 'lockdown breach' fines in England

New data from the National Police Chief's Council shows that Thames Valley Police, who cover Milton Keynes, have issued the fifth highest number of 'lockdown breach' fines in England.

Between 27th March and 25th May, Thames Valley Police issued a total of 878 fines for people who were in breach of lockdown restrictions.

Only four police forces in England issued more during this period - Metropolitan Police in London (1,035 fines), North Yorkshire Police (1,032 fines), Devon and Cornwall Police (906 fines) and West Yorkshire Police (881 fines).

The fewest fines were issued by MoD Police (36 fines), Warwickshire Police (40 fines), Staffordshire Police (53 fines), City Of London Police (70 fines) and Kent Police (125 fines).

But the number of fines issued recently has fallen sharply, with only 14 of the 878 fines in the Thames Valley area being issued between 12th May and 28th May.

Care should be taken when reviewing comparisons between forces due to differences in local population composition and density.

Across England, the data shows that a total of 15,552 fines have been recorded by forces in England up to 25th May for breaches of government public health regulations.

Government public health regulations introduced on 27 March 2020 to prevent the spread of coronavirus, enable officers to issue individuals with fines if they failed to comply after officers have engaged with them, explained the risks to public health and encouraged voluntary compliance.

From Wednesday 13 May, the minimum fine in England increased from £60 to £100, reducing if paid within 14 days. The upper limit for fines also increased from £960 to £3,200.

National Police Chiefs' Council Chair Martin Hewitt said: “As restrictions are carefully eased, the public have been able to go about their business in greater numbers, and with greater flexibility."

“The collective public effort over the past two months has meant police officers have only rarely had to step in to enforce regulations and even less so in the past few weeks."

"I am confident the vast majority will continue to act responsibly. We will be issuing guidance to officers on how to approach new changes to the regulations in the coming days."

“The overarching aim of the police response has always been to keep people as safe as possible, and encourage them to follow the regulations, thereby reducing the transmission of the virus."

"We will continue to play our part and are grateful for all of the positive engagement we have had with the public to date.”

"There is still a responsibility on us all to abide by the regulations set in each part of the UK, and to follow public health guidance as best we can when out and about."

"Throughout this pandemic, officers have only enforced as a last resort and have taken a common sense approach, applying their discretion and judgement when engaging with the public.”