Suffolk police sees 'signifcant' drop in Covid reports and fines

Police patrolling Ipswich town centre in April Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk Constabulary is handing out fewer fixed penalty notices related to lockdown rule breaking - Credit: Archant

The number of fines for Covid rule-breaking has fallen significantly - with police praising a "huge compliant" public for sticking to government restrictions. 

Speaking to the Suffolk Local Outbreak Engagement Board on Friday, Suffolk deputy chief constable Rachel Kearton said the force issued 13 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for Covid breaches the previous week.

An illegal music event in east Suffolk was one of the examples of where police were called.

Rachel Kearton has spoken of the pressures facing Suffolk's police force's mental health Picture: SU

Rachel Kearton, deputy chief constable at Suffolk Constabulary - Credit: Archant

At its peak, the force was issuing close to 100 fixed penalty notices a week and was receiving around 100 calls a day to its control room – which now stands at around 30.

The majority of those calls are people asking for advice surrounding rules rather than reporting any incidents, Ms Kearton said. 

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She added: "I am very pleased to say we have been able to work very well and successfully with a hugely compliant majority of people within Suffolk.

"There has been a significant drop in the number of enforcement engagements between police and the local population – another indication of that is in the last week, 13 FPNs have been given out, whereas at a peak the figure was closer to 100."

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Ms Kearton added, however, that the constabulary has received an increase in domestic abuse-related calls.

While data is yet to be fully compiled, it is believed the increase in calls is due to victims now being more easily able to leave their homes to report a crime since lockdown restrictions were eased.

"We are detecting a slight increase in the number of reports related to domestic abuse," she said.

"Obviously we don't want to see an increase in domestic abuse reports, however what this seemingly identifies as a trend is victims being now able to move out of their homes to have space from their perpetrators, and who are coming forward to report either incidents that occurred more recently, or in some cases incidents occurring in the last 12 months during lockdown."

Support is available 24/7 via the Suffolk Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 977 5690.

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