Police in Lancashire issued 633 fines to people breaching social distance guidelines between March 27 and April 27.Advertisement
As Britain enters its sixth week in lockdown, police and health leaders continue to urge residents to maintain social distancing to prevent further spread of Coronavirus.
While the majority of residents are complying with the regulations, police across the county have received almost 9,000 coronavirus related incident logs since lockdown began.
Read more: Director of public health warns of ‘fragile time’ in the fight against coronavirus
Speaking to Blog Preston and LancsLive this week, Dr Sakthi Kurananthi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, warned relaxing social distancing will lead to further hospital admissions from COVID-19.
He said: “The danger is cases will start rising and more people will end up in hospital, which we don’t want to see happen.
“The virus is too dangerous.”
National figures released by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) revealed of those issued with fines, a third were in the 18 – 24 age group with a further third aged 25 – 34. Eight out of ten were men.
Det Ch Con Sara Glen, the NPCCs lead for charging and out of court disposals said the majority of fines were issued to people who did not engage with officers who tried to explain lockdown rules.
She said: “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.”
A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “We’re all in this together and each and every one of us has a role to play by following the government advice.
“Our aim has always been to encourage and support our communities to comply fully with the restrictions by engaging, explaining and encouraging. The vast majority of people are fully complying with the guidance and advice and we thank them for helping to stop the spread of the virus.
“We are clear that only when faced with non-compliance will we then enforce as a last resort for individuals who have not responded to engage, explain, and encourage and where public health is at risk.
“We moved quickly so our officers had a mobile solution to be able to issue FPNs, if they needed to, the day after the Coronavirus legislation came into force.
“We have recorded more than 8700 COVID-19 related incident logs from members of the public between Friday, 27 March and today and the number of fines issued is just a small percentage of that total.
“This represents a proportionate use of enforcement as the last resort for a small number of people who have refused to cooperate. We have also received overwhelming support from our communities and just three complaints about the issuing of a fine.
“We’ve been clear with officers that they should use their judgment and common sense around the legislation. The new powers we have been given are proportionate and necessary to address the threat this pandemic presents but we will only use them when we need them. We will continue to police by consent and with the trust and help of our communities.
“Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.”