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More than 4,000 Covid fines issued to people in Northern Ireland since start of pandemic

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The PSNI has issued more than 4,000 Covid fines to individuals since the start of the pandemic, new figures have revealed.

Since the outbreak in March to November 12, a total of 2,101 Cov1 penalty notices were issued. These can be served for a number of reasons, such as indoor or outdoor gatherings found to be in breach of the permitted maximum number of people.

Originally a £60 penalty, Cov1 notices were replaced by Cov4 notices on November 12, with fines starting at £200. This amount can be reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

From November 12 to midnight on January 10, 1,948 Cov4 notices were handed out. This means a total of 4,049 Cov1/Cov4 notices have been issued since the start of the pandemic in Northern Ireland.

Cov2 notices, prohibition notices issued to commercial premises or private dwellings holding gatherings in breach of restrictions, have been issued to 182 businesses and 912 private residences.

Some 46 Cov5 fines have been issued to businesses found to in breach of the rules, starting at £1,000 to a maximum fine of £10,000.

A total of 55 people have also been fined £1,000 for failing to self-isolate.

Community Resolution Notices (CRNs), essentially warnings for anyone over the age of 10, have also been issued to 1,810 people for Covid-related reasons.

In terms of council area, Belfast has seen the most fines and notices handed out, with a total of 3051. The majority of this total is made up of Cov1 and Cov4 notices, along with 623 CRNs.

Lisburn and Castlereagh has seen the least, with a total of 132 notices have been issued.

The figures emerged as the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) called for tougher coronavirus regulations to help officers enforce them.

PFNI chairman Mark Lindsay said officers need the power to order people home, rather that just issuing guidance.

"Officers say that guidance needs to be strengthened and placed into tougher regulations," he said.

"Only then will officers be able to order people to return to their homes or run the risk of a fixed penalty notice. Only then will officers have the backing of law to support the actions they take on the roadside or elsewhere.

"It beggars belief that some people wilfully ignore the advice that's offered. However, they're not breaking any law when they thank officers for the guidance they are offered and plough on regardless.

"For the minority who flout the guidance, the police must be given full enforcement powers to order them to do what they should be doing anyway, and that is staying at home and not leaving the house unless for permitted activities.

"For as long as we don't see guidance turned into regulation, we will have abuses."


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