West Mercia Police have so far handed out more than 2,600 fines to those not following face covering regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.

Data released on the most recent Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued in England under emergency health regulations from 27th March 2020 to 18th April 2021 shows that a total of 2,660 fines were handed out during this period to those breaking COVID-19 regulations.

Breakdown of the 2,660 fixed penalty notices issued by West Mercia Police:

No.1, No.2 and local lockdown â€“ 239 fines issued.

Local COVID-19 alert levels â€“ 61 fines issued.

Hold a gathering of more than 30 people â€“ 2 fines issued.

No.4 regs (National lockdown) â€“ 209 fines issued.

All Tiers Regulations (including January lockdown) â€“ 1,777 fines issued.

Steps – 2 fines issued

Face coverings regulations (public transport & relevant place) â€“ 343 fines issued.

International travel regulations â€“ 9 fines issued.

Business Regulations â€“ 18 fines issued.

Self Isolation – 0 fines issued.

TOTAL NUMBER OF COVID-19 RELATED FIXED PENALTY NOTICES ISSUED: 2,170

Police in England and Wales have processed a total of 110,322 fixed penalty notices for breaches of Coronavirus restrictions up to 18 April 2021.

The latest provisional figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council show that 15,954 fines were processed in the latest reporting period.

The total processed in England is now 99,742 and 10,580 in Wales. 

Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, said: 

“We’re continuing to take encouraging steps out of lockdown. The number of fines processed have gone down again in the past four weeks, which is to be expected as restrictions are lifted.

“All of our hard work and sacrifice is paying off, and to ensure we continue to move in this direction, it’s important we keep the threat of COVID-19 at the forefront of our minds and stick to the rules at each stage of the roadmap.

“Despite these good signs, there are still a small number of people who blatantly disregard the rules, attending and organising large gatherings, such as illegal parties or unlicensed music events. Forces up and down the country have shut down a number of these selfish and unsafe events, and officers won’t let up in their efforts over the coming weeks.

“The same applies for large indoor gatherings, and any person who organises or attends these can also expect to be fined.

“Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, I also want to remind everyone that there are still limits on how many people can meet up in groups outside. As the weather has improved and restrictions have eased, we have seen several large gatherings in outdoor spaces, most commonly in parks.

“I understand that people are excited to see their friends and family again after such a long time, but it really is vital people continue to follow the rules at each stage of the government’s roadmap or we risk undermining our efforts up to now.

“Our officers will continue to carry out patrols and will engage with the public to keep explaining the restrictions which remain in place at the time.”

Fixed penalty notices were processed for the following reasons: 

Large gatherings (ÂŁ10,000 fine) 

  • 320 FPNs have now been processed relating to holding a gathering of more than thirty people in England and three in Wales. 
  • These include, but are not limited to, unlicensed music events, protests and private parties 

Participating in a gathering of more than 15 people (ÂŁ800 fines) 

  • 2,804 FPNs have been processed in England under regulations requiring people not to participate in a gathering of more than 15 people. 344 processed in Wales.

Face coverings 

  • 3,592 FPNs were processed between 15 June and 18 April for breaches of the Face Coverings Regulations in England.  
  • 612 of these fines were processed for failure to wear a face covering on public transport. 
  • 2,980 fines were processed for failure to wear a face covering in a relevant place, such as a retail setting. 

Businesses  

  • 760 FPNs were processed to businesses up to 18 April. 
  • The main reasons for the issuance of an FPN included: Businesses refusing to close during the emergency period or refusing to close during restricted hours, gatherings of more than the restricted number taking place within a business; businesses not adhering to the table service only rules. 

International travel regulations

  • Up until 18 April, 639 FPNs have been processed in England. Breaches of the regulations include failing to self-isolate after arriving from a country on the UK Government Quarantine list, including red list travel ban countries, among other reasons. Five have been processed in Wales.

Self-isolation regulation

  • Up until 18 April 89 FPNs have been processed under the Self-Isolation regulation; failing to self- isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

The full breakdown of FPNs can be found within the attached data pack here

Examples of police action in the past few weeks includes: 

  • On Sunday 18 April, Greater Manchester Police disrupted a large gathering at an unlicensed music event at Platt Fields Park in Wimslow. The organiser was given a ÂŁ10k fine and members of the public who attended the event, roughly in the hundreds, were dispersed.
  • Officers from West Midlands Police shut down an illegal rave on Monday 29 March, which was being held under a bridge on the M6, dangerously close to a river and motorway. Officers had to call in support from a drone and a helicopter to help break up the gathering, including the use of thermal imaging cameras. 22 people were issued with fines and the organiser was given a ÂŁ10k fine.  
  • In London, Metropolitan Police responded to reports from concerned residents of a large group of around 300 people at Primrose Hill on Saturday 3 April, who were described as engaging in anti-social behaviour and playing music from a sound system. Officers attended and dispersed the group from the area and continued to patrol the location over the Bank Holiday weekend.
  • South Wales Police needed to use additional police powers to help disperse people and deal with anti-social behaviour in Cardiff Bay over the Bank Holiday weekend in April,  following several days of large crowds gathering in the area, flouting COVID-19 restrictions and committing other crime. Three people were arrested on one evening, which included a public order offence, being drunk and disorderly and possession of a Class A substance.