“The vast majority of society supports and adheres to the rules of this huge national effort. However, the tragic number of new cases and deaths this week shows that there is still a need for strict enforcement as people clearly violate these rules, ensuring that a country is protected from this deadly virus. Enforcing these rules saves lives – it’s simple, ”Patel said. She added that the officers will continue persuasion first and then impose sanctions, but they will not hesitate to take decisive action when necessary.

Patel’s statement echoed guidelines issued this week by the National Council of Chiefs of Police (NPCC) that officers should impose more fines and do it faster. They said officers should convince people to comply with the rules and explain any changes. “However, if an individual or group does not respond appropriately, the law can be enforced without renewed attempts to encourage people to obey the law,” the guidelines say.

However, some cases of penalties imposed are controversial. This week, the situation in Derbyshire echoed with a £ 200 fine for two women who drove – separately and in their own car – to meet in a nature reserve more than 5 miles from their homes. Since both of them had cups of hot drinks in their hands, the police classified their meeting as an outing. After a wave of criticism in the media, the police announced that they would review the legality of this punishment.

According to the National Security Council, between March 27 and December 21, 2020, police in England and Wales imposed 32,329 fines for breaking the coronavirus restrictions.

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As part of the nationwide lockdown on Monday, people were again prevented from leaving their homes without good reason. However, the restrictions have not yet translated into a reduction in injuries and deaths. The highest daily statistic since the start of the epidemic was recorded on Friday – 1,325 deaths and more than 68,000 infections.