Police are 'increasingly likely' to give out Covid fines - but will it reduce compliance?

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 9:12 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 9:14 am

Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, has said those breaking Covid rules are now “increasingly likely” to be fined by officers.

She said police forces are moving “more quickly” to enforce lockdown restrictions, and that officers are still finding people breaking the rules, despite clear laws being in place.

‘Our duty to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus’

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Writing in The Times, the Police Commissioner said: “Most people are doing the right thing to keep each other safe, but sadly a small minority of people continue to flagrantly ignore the rules, for example by holding house parties, meeting in basements to gamble or breaking into railway arches for unlicensed raves.

“It is preposterous to me that anyone could be unaware of our duty to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus.

“We have been clear that those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly likely to face fines.”

In regards to those venturing outside for exercise, policing minister Kit Malthouse said police officers are hoping that the public will recognise what “local” means.

He told Times Radio: “What we are hoping for is that most people will recognise that local, while it’s open to personal interpretation, does have some implications, ie can you get there under your own steam?

“We are trying to strike a balance between maintaining compliance with the rules and elements of public consent to what’s happening.

“I think most people would think that was reasonable.

“Where there are unreasonable people who are breaking that rule, police are intervening.”

Some police officers ‘may get it wrong’

However, Derbyshire police and crime commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, has acknowledged that some officers "may get it wrong" when enforcing coronavirus restrictions, and that being “overzealous” could put some people off from following coronavirus rules.

His comments come after two women in Leicester were fined £200 each after they drove five miles to go for a walk together.

Although in England two people from different households can meet for exercise, the guidance states that people must stay within their local area.

Mr Dhindsa said that the situation “could have been dealt with differently,” and in response to being asked by BBC Breakfast if police being "overzealous" could put people off complying with Covid rules, he replied: "It could be."