Police issue fifth highest number of fines for Covid-19 breaches, Met figures show
PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 June 2020
Police officers issued the fifth highest number of fines for Covid-19 breaches, figures show.
The North East basic command unit (BCU) covering Newham and Waltham Forest handed out 82 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) during lockdown between March 27 and May 14, figures released by the service on June 3 show.
This compares to a high of 165 issued by West Area BCU – covering Ealing, Hillingdon and Hounslow.
The capital is divided into 12 BCUs. Officers from the BCU covering Barnet, Brent and Harrow issued the fewest, 29.
Assistant commissioner Mark Simmons said: “Policing this new legislation has been complex and I’m proud of how both the public and police have responded.
“Our aim has been to protect London, and not to unnecessarily criminalise where we can avoid it.
“We have seen, overall, good compliance, meaning in most cases the need for issuing a fixed penalty notice or arrest has been unnecessary.
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“I hope Londoners will be reassured that we have been using the new powers only when we have absolutely needed to.”
The Met’s approach to using the powers, to engage, explain, encourage and enforce, describes the latter as a “last resort”.
In total, across London 973 FPNs and 36 arrests were made for breaches of regulations out of the capital’s approximate population of nine million. Fines start at £100.
Covid-19 legislation introduced to help slow the spread of the virus was also used in 711 further arrests where other crimes were given as the main reason.
Twenty six per cent of fines (253) and 31pc of arrests (232) were issued to people identified as black, who make up 12pc of London’s population according to the ONS.
Asians, making up 18pc of the population, received 22.6pc of fines (220) and 14pc of arrests (106).
This compares to 45.6pc of FPNs (444) and 38pc (284) of arrests against white people who make up 59pc of London’s population.
The Met said the reasons for the higher proportion of black and minority ethnic people being fined or arrested were “complex” and reflected police targeting crime hot spots as part of proactive operations, age profiles and where ethnic groups live.
Ethnicity figures per BCU were unavailable.
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