Police have handed out more than 9,000 fixed fines to people flouting the lockdown rules since the restrictions began a month ago.

The vast majority of offenders (80%) were men, most of them under 35, according to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC).

Fines were given to a man who went to a friend’s house in Cumbria to dye their hair – and claimed he was unaware of any lockdown – and another from Manchester who drove for around two hours to Keswick for a 20-minute walk.

A police officer speaks to people relaxing by the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London
A police officer speaks to people relaxing by the Serpentine in Hyde Park

Four young men were stopped travelling from Manchester to Yorkshire to get a burger.

Almost 400 people were repeat offenders.

One person has been given six fines, while 343 people have been fined twice for having no “reasonable excuse” to be away from their home.

Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen of the NPCC said: “Sometimes you get to the point where fines just don’t work and all you can do is make an arrest.”

Thames Valley Police recorded the highest number of fines with 649, while Warwickshire issued the fewest with just 22.

Police said there are some “definite correlations” when there is hot weather, as more people visit beaches, countryside areas and rural communities.

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But they said the figures were low and showed the vast majority of people in England and Wales were sticking to the lockdown rules.

“The figures also show our use of the enforcement powers remains proportionate with just 0.02% of the population in England being issued with a fine,” NPCC chair Martin Hewitt said.

Under the current restrictions, people are only allowed to go out for specific reasons, including shopping, exercise, visiting a doctor or helping a vulnerable person.

Police have insisted their policy of “engage, explain, encourage” is working, with enforcement used only as a last resort.

Officers have been given powers to hand out a £60 penalty – reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks – for breaches of the lockdown rules.

DCC Glen said: “The vast majority of the fines that we’re seeing enforced are people actually not complying, being out in public spaces where they don’t have a reasonable excuse to do so, not listening to the officers’ advice in respect of engaging and explaining to the extent where the officer then has to issue a ticket to secure compliance.”

However, DCC Glen also said reports of anti-social behaviour more than doubled to around 215,000 in the four weeks to 27 April, compared with about 106,000 in the same period last year.

It comes as the Home Office announced 3,005 new police officers have been recruited since September, as part of the government’s commitment to fund 20,000 extra officers by 2023.





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