Firm action taken against those failing to follow Covid-19 rules
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The latest penalty figures show Northamptonshire Police is taking firm action against the small number of people who are failing to follow Covid-19 rules.
Between December 21 and January 17, the Force issued 451 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to people for a range of breaches, including failing to wear a face covering and holding a gathering of more than 30 people, an offence which carries a £10,000 fine for organisers and a newly increased fine of £800 for attendees.
Released as part of the latest statistics issued today by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the number represents a significant increase in the use of enforcement action in Northamptonshire – between March and December 20, the total of FPNs issued in the county was 848.
The rise in FPNs follows an increase in patrols countywide, and illustrates the Force’s commitment to keeping Northamptonshire’s communities safe by educating and encouraging people to follow the rules and, where necessary, making sure the law is followed.
Superintendent Elliot Foskett, silver commander for the Force’s response to Covid-19, said: “Thankfully, most people in our county are pulling together brilliantly, sticking to the rules even in challenging circumstances not just because it’s the law, but because it’s the right thing to do.
“From the start of the pandemic, our officers have used an engage, explain, encourage and enforce approach to applying Covid-19 legislation. Even before policing across the UK was asked to be more proactive in tackling those few people who seem to think they are above the law, Northamptonshire Police recognised that firmer action was needed in order to support Public Health colleagues in their fight against the spread of infection, which is reflected in these figures.
“We all have our part to play in keeping everyone as safe as possible, while we look forward to a future where such restrictions are no longer necessary. To everyone doing their bit we repeat our thanks, and we also repeat our promise to take action against those who compromise our collective efforts by failing to follow the law.”
Neighbourhood Policing Teams are continuing Covid-19 patrols, with a focus on town centres, public transport, parks, country parks and supermarkets, providing information and reassurance to people while also taking enforcement action where necessary.
Supt Foskett added: “Sadly we have been living with Covid for almost a year. Social distancing, regular handwashing, wearing a face covering in shops and public transport, and reducing contact with others should be second nature by now. There is no excuse by this point for anyone to not know the rules, which exist to protect us all and reduce the immense pressures faced by our incredible NHS.
“We all miss seeing family and friends, but now more than ever it’s vital that people only visit those in their support bubble, and even then only when they absolutely have to.
“It is hard, but before every interaction, please think about whether it is necessary - just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should.”