More than 9,000 fines have been handed to people in England and Wales for allegedly flouting Covid-19 lockdown laws, according to new figures.
Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen said reports of anti-social behaviour more than doubled to around 215,000 in the four weeks to April 27, compared to about 106,000 in the same period last year.
But she said enforcement of the Government’s restriction of movement regulations remains relatively low with more than 200,000 coronavirus-related calls received.
Police have been given powers to hand out a £60 penalty, that is reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks, for breaches of the lockdown rules.
Data released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) on Thursday shows 8,877 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) have been recorded by forces in England between March 27 and April 27, while 299 were issued in Wales over the same period.
Some 397 were for repeat offenders, with one person fined six times, three people fined 5 times and six people fined four times.
In England, 4,152 fines were issued up to April 13, with a further 4,725 handed out in the two weeks up to April 27.
Ms Glen said younger people were more likely to breach the lockdown rules, with figures showing around eight out of 10 people fined were men, a third were aged between 18-24 and another third aged 25-34.
“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,” she said.
“There are some definite correlations when it gets hot and when it is good weather where we see troublesome spots, whether that’s beaches or whether that’s countryside, rural communities where people want to go and walk.
“We definitely have seen that when we’ve had hot weather but, on the whole, we are seeing as soon as officers arrive, as soon as they engage and explain, the vast, vast majority of the public are adhering to the rules.”
Of the 43 regional police forces in England and Wales, Thames Valley Police recorded the highest number of fines, with 649, while Warwickshire issued the fewest, with just 22.
NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said: “As the latest provisional figures on the number of fines issued show, the vast majority of people continue to do the right thing, staying at home in order to protect the NHS and help save lives.
“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.”