Police 'make no apology' for issuing almost 45,000 Covid fines

12 January 2021, 17:31 | Updated: 12 January 2021, 18:16

Chief Constable makes "no apology" for police issuing almost 45,000 fixed penalty notices

By Kate Buck

Almost 45,000 fixed penalty notices for breaking Covid rules have so far been issued in the UK, as a police chief said forces "make no apology" for doing so.

Martin Hewitt, Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, added those who flout Covid rules are: "Dangerous, selfish, and totally irresponsible".

He added that forces across the country have been attending a number of illegal gatherings, including a party of 40 people - each of whom had paid £40 to attend - and issued at £10,000 fine to an organiser who claimed a house party was a business meeting.

Mr Hewitt told a Downing Street press conference people needed to take personal responsibility for their actions.

"We will carry on engaging with people, that's how we have done this from the beginning," he said.

"We will talk to people and we will explain.

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"But I think the rules are clear enough for people to understand, we are 10 months into this process."

While the regulations had shifted over time it was "very clear what people need to do".

"People need to accept the personal responsibility to act properly to prevent the spread of the virus."

His words come as Derbyshire Police apologised to two women who were fined £200 after going for a walk together.

Derbyshire Police's Chief Constable said the ever-changing guidance can lead to errors.

The two women received £200 fixed penalty notices after travelling to a reservoir for a walk around five miles from their homes.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said a minority of the public are "putting the health of the nation at risk"
Home Secretary Priti Patel said a minority of the public are "putting the health of the nation at risk". Picture: PA

Speaking from Downing Street on Tuesday, Mr Hewitt said that "sometimes mistakes will be made" but that members of the public involved had been apologised to.

He added: "We've said when we've got something wrong".

Home Secretary Priti Patel said a minority of the public are "putting the health of the nation at risk" as she backed a tougher police approach to lockdown rules.

She said that officers are moving more quickly to issuing fines where people are clearly breaching coronavirus regulations

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has also spoken to councils "about the role that they have to play in enforcing the rules", she said.

Latest figures showed that a further 1,243 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday, which brings the UK total to 81,960.

Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 99,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.

The Government also said that, as of 9am on Tuesday, there had been a further 45,533 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 3,118,518.