LONDON: the National Police Chiefs’ Council has announced that a total of 14,244 fines for alleged breaches of coronavirus lockdown laws were issued by police forces in England and Wales up to May 11.
Martin Hewitt, National Police Chiefs’ Council chair, said: “These were unprecedented circumstances in which officers were presented with new powers within days of them being announced. “This has all been done at pace and everyone in the criminal justice system has had to deal with a new body of legislation, which has undoubtedly led to some confusion.
A new data published by the NPCC on Friday revealed that Black and Asian people have been disproportionately fined under the Coronavirus Act.
Out of 13,445 contraventions where the individual issued with the notice had a self-identified ethnicity recorded, more than three-quarters (78%) were issued to people who self identified as white.
However, 5% of recipients issued with fines were Black. This ethnic group accounts for 3% of the England and Wales population. Some 13% of fines were handed to Asian people – who make up 7.5% of the population.
A total of 25% of fines issued did not have ethnicity of the individual identified.
The CPS reviewed all prosecutions brought under the Coronavirus Act and Health Protection Regulations to make sure the new laws are being applied consistently and appropriately, a spokesperson said.
The 44 charges were withdrawn because there was no evidence they covered potentially infectious people, which is what this law is intended for.