Essex and Suffolk police ranked low for issuing Covid-related fines

Suffolk police said it cannot yet say how Covid rules will be policed at Christmas. Stock picture. P

Police in Suffolk and Essex were ranked low for handing out Covid fines - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Police in Suffolk and Essex have handed out a total of more than 2,600 Covid-related fines during the pandemic, latest figures have revealed. 

The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) statistics show that Suffolk police dished out 1,110 fixed penalty notices under Covid regulations between March 27, 2020 and December 19, 2021, with six involving face covering regulations. 

While in Essex, 1,504 coronavirus fines were issued between the same dates, with seven handed out for large gatherings of more than 30 people. 

The figures revealed that Essex issued 81 fixed penalty notices per 100,000 people - ranking it as the second lowest force in the country for Covid fines (37th out of 38). 

While Suffolk handed out 146 Covid fines per 100,000 people and were ranked 23rd out of 38 forces. 

Merseyside Police was ranked as number one and issued 518 fines per 100,000 people. 

Nationally, a total of 118,9632 fixed penalty notices were issued in England and Wales between March 27, 2020 and December 19, 2021 under Covid-19 emergency health regulations. 

Officers from Suffolk police's Kestrel team were stationed outside Kesgrave High School in the days

Essex was ranked as the second lowest force in the country for dishing out Covid fines - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Most Read

Essex Police said the force has always taken a "common sense approach" to enforcing regulations. 

"Throughout the pandemic people across have been doing the right thing and following the rules and we want to say a massive thank you to them because it’s really made a difference," a spokesman for the force said. 

"We have always taken a common sense approach to enforcing the rules.

"We have engaged with people, explained the rules, and encourage them to do the right thing.

"Where that hasn’t worked we’ve taken enforcement action.

"We have consistently responded to clear and blatant breaches and, where they occur, work with our partners to resolve the situation."

Suffolk police said its officers always tried to use enforcement as "a last resort". 

A spokesman for the force said: “Since a lockdown was announced in March 2020, Suffolk Constabulary has always taken a proportionate and common sense approach to applying any new legislation relating to Covid-19 which has been brought in to protect the public.

“From the outset we have taken the view our officers should engage with people to explain the law and encourage them to abide by it.

“Officers have always tried to ensure that enforcement was only used as a last resort. We would like to thank the vast majority of people who complied with the restrictions which have been in place over the last two years, and for the support our officers and staff have received from the public.”