Coronavirus fines: Lancashire Police issues most lockdown penalties

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image captionLancashire Police issued the highest number of lockdown fines

More than 3,200 fines have been issued for alleged breaches of the coronavirus lockdown by police forces in England.

The National Police Chiefs Council said people as old as 100 were given the £60 penalties from 27 March to 13 April.

Nearly 40 fines mistakenly issued to children were withdrawn.

Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen said Lancashire Police handed out the most with 380 due to "barbecues, parties and Blackpool beaches", followed by Thames Valley with 219 and Surrey with 205.

Some 82 per cent of fines were given to men, and 15 per cent to women, with three per cent unknown. A third of fines go to those aged 18 to 24, with a further third going to those aged 25 to 34.

The £60 fines for breaching the lockdown are reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks.

'Very proportionate'

Ms Glen - the National Police Chiefs Council lead for charging and out of court disposals - said visitors to Blackpool may be why Lancashire's tally was so high.

"We absolutely see [high] temperatures and coastal resorts having a challenge there," she said.

Penalties were "very much due to barbecues, house parties... Blackpool, beaches, you've got a lot going on there in terms of temperature, location, context."

Lancashire's Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods said the force's response to the new law was "very proportionate".

"We are very organised and got access to tickets on our devices within an hour."

Sussex Police Chief Constable Giles York said his force had fined sun-seekers who had travelled more than 100 miles to the coast for a day out.

Humberside Police issued the lowest number of fines - issuing two penalties.

National Police Chiefs Council chairperson Martin Hewitt admitted there had been a "very small number" of errors in applying the new law adding police officers were "trying to do their best in very, very difficult and unusual circumstances".

The errors included:

  • Thirty nine fines wrongly issued to under 18s
  • British Transport Police wrongly fining a 41-year-old woman from York £660
  • Metropolitan Police admitted a 21-year-old man was wrongly fined
  • Warwickshire Police said five outstanding charges which are yet to go before the court would be dropped
  • Greater Manchester Police arrested a man dropping off food for vulnerable family members which Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said was "very embarrassing"
  • A South Yorkshire Police officer appeared to tell a family they were not allowed to play in their own front garden

Mr Hewitt said: "Of course there have been mistakes and I think we have been very quick to come forward when we have made mistakes."

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