Maximum fine for repeated breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules rises to £1,920 in Wales

20 May 2020, 21:00

Police patrol the Welsh border
Police patrol the Welsh border. Picture: Gwent Police

By Megan White

The maximum fine for repeated breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules in Wales will rise from £120 to £1,920 ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend.

First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that from Friday, people caught committing their sixth offence will be fined almost £2,000.

Previously, the fine would rise from £60 to £120 after the first offence.

But it will now double for every offence up to the sixth, and subsequent offences will also attract a fine of £1,920 each.

In England, fines start at £100 but are lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days. Fines double for each repeat offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.

More than 1,300 penalty notices have been issued in Wales since the lockdown restrictions were introduced at the end of March.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland stuck with the stay-at-home message, rather than moving to “stay alert” as England did.

Their lockdown rules have not been relaxed and they have asked English people to stay away.

The fines are being increased in a bid to deter people from repeatedly breaching the stay-at-home regulations.

Evidence from the four police forces across Wales show a small minority of people are breaking the coronavirus regulations, particularly by traveling to well-known beauty spots, even though they have been closed since the end of March.

Announcing the changes, Mr Drakeford said: “I am very grateful to the chief constables and our Police and Crime Commissioners for all the work they have done to keep Wales safe throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“The police have adopted a ‘4Es’ approach to the regulations – they have engaged people, explained what they need to do and encouraged them to comply. But when people haven’t responded, they have used their powers to enforce the regulations.

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“Fines are a last resort in the enforcement of the regulations which keep us all safe.

“The evidence from the chief constables and Police and Crime Commissioners shows we need a stronger fines structure to deter that small minority of people who persistently fail to keep to the rules.”

The existing fines structure, which imposed a £60 fine for a first offence rising to £120 for a second and subsequent offences, will be replaced by a new structure in which the fines double for every offence – rising from £60 to £120 to £1,920 for the sixth offence.

The First Minister added: “As we approach the bank holiday weekend, we continue to ask people to stay at home to protect themselves and their loved ones from coronavirus. If they are exercising – please stay safe and stay local.

“I want to thank everyone for their continuing support in reducing the spread of coronavirus in Wales – by sticking to the rules, we are all helping to protect each other and our NHS and we are saving lives.

“These changes will send a strong signal to the small minority of people who are blatantly ignoring the rules and undermining the efforts of everybody else who are doing the right thing.”

New regulations to increase the fines will be laid in the Senedd on Thursday and will come into force on Friday.