Number of Covid fines handed out by Lancashire Police revealed as first fines over Downing Street lockdown parties issued

Lancashire police have handed out thousands of fines for breaches of coronavirus-related laws – including almost a dozen fines for holding large gatherings.

By Patrick Jack
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 2:22 pm

Human rights advocacy group Liberty said communities have been subjected to disproportionate and harmful policing while staff at Number 10 have been "attending drinks parties".

Figures published by the National Police Chiefs' Council show 4,657 fixed penalty notices were issued by Lancashire Constabulary between March 27 2020 and December 19 last year.

Of these, 21 were recorded from May 17 2021, when different households were allowed to mix indoors for the first time following several months of lockdown.

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The number of Covid fines issued by police in Lancashire has been revealed.

Since that date, some forces have revised down their total number of fines, while others have issued hundreds.

FPNs can be rescinded following a review or cancelled altogether if multiple were issued in error, leading to some areas seeing a fall in the number of fines over time.

Across England and Wales, 124,581 fines have been issued by the 43 territorial police forces, British Transport Police and Ministry of Defence for alleged breaches of Covid-19-related laws since the pandemic began.

Liberty said the Government gave the police "blunt and coercive powers to enforce lockdowns", when it should have been prioritising public health.

Jun Pang, policy and campaigns officer at the organisation, said: "Throughout the pandemic we have seen over-zealous policing and chaotic communications, leaving people confused and fearful of prosecution.

“The discrepancies in these regional figures show that the restrictions were unclear, leaving it up to local police forces to interpret the law. Clearly, this opened the door to inconsistency and discrimination."

It was announced today, Tuesday, that 20 fines will be issued as part of the police inquiry into the Downing Street parties that broke Covid rules.

The Met police will not be saying who is fined or which events the fixed penalty notices relate to.

However, Downing Street has said before that it would confirm if the prime minister was facing a fine.

Of the FPNs issued across England and Wales, 377 were for holding a gathering of more than 30 people – with 11 in Lancashire.

Ms Pang added: "Now we know that while some communities were being subjected to disproportionate and harmful policing and locked out of support, those in power were attending drinks parties at Number 10.”