Dozens of people are wrongly charged under UK lockdown laws
Updated: Jul 9, 2020
Up until May 11, the UK police force has issued more than 14,000 fines in England and Wales for alleged breaches of lockdown laws.
The Coronavirus Bill, created to provide powers needed to respond to the current coronavirus outbreak, consists of 44 charges.
Statements from the National Police Chiefs’ Council has revealed that all 44 charges under the Bill, such as authorisation for officers to remove or detain a “suspected infectious person” for screening and assessment, were incorrect.
A dozen people have been charged incorrectly under the Health Protection Regulations 2020, which allows police to break up gatherings and fine those breaching lockdown restrictions.
Other offences under the law were charged correctly - 175 out of 187 regulations have been charged appropriately.
Only six of the 44 charges have not been brought alongside other offences, including assaults on key workers, theft and burglary.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, unacceptable levels of verbal and physical abuse have been directed towards the critical workers that are helping keep this nation alive and running.
Data released by Dorset Council has revealed that between 16 March and 14 April there were 40 occurrences of assault on police officers and emergency workers. Included in this antisocial behaviour is coughing and sneezing in the direction of officers.
Londoner’s, however, appear to be the worst offenders. The Metropolitan Police force has issued over 900 fines, which is the highest number of fines amongst the 43 regional police forces in England and Wales (the data covers the period before the penalty rose from £60 to £100 in England after the rules were eased).
While National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair Martin Hewitt is satisfied with how the laws are being enforced, it is evident that a level of confusion still exists amongst police officers and members of the public over what is acceptable in a time of quarantine, and what isn’t.
Generally, people seem to be abiding by the lockdown measures, with just 0.02% of the population in England and Wales being issued with a fine so far.