Police have dished out nearly 70,000 fines since the first lockdown which came into force last March. Figures published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) this afternoon, show that a total of 68,952 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were issued by forces.
“We are still in a really dangerous stage of a pandemic which has killed more than 120,000 people. Eleven months on and back into a national lockdown, the rules are really clear and so it is frustrating that we still have a small number of completely defiant and irresponsible people who have no regard for the safety of themselves or others.”
The data reveals that 275 £10,000 fines were given to organisers of mass gatherings of more than 30 people, like raves, parties and protests. 485 people were fined £800 for attending gatherings of more than 15 people.
2,344 fines were handed out people not wearing masks in designated areas. 582 fixed penalty notices were served on businesses for breaches of regulations, including failures to enforce face masks, unlawfully staying open and hosting large gatherings or not sticking to table service rules.
My advice to anyone who receives a fine is simple. Do not pay and have your day in court. Remember, the so-called “guidance” is not the law. Matthew Paul, a barrister from Civitas Law, told The New Statesman that;
“The rule of law is being seriously undermined by Covid-19 regulations. Guidance is not law; in most cases an individual is entitled to ignore it. But police officers are enforcing guidance as if it were law, and have turned to enforcing what they consider to be the purpose, rather than the letter of the regulations.”