Coronavirus: Police issue just one fine for travel quarantine breach, figures show

Single penalty compares to more than 18,000 for lockdown violations

Liam James
Monday 27 July 2020 17:07
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Police have fined just one person over breaching quarantine rules for people arriving from foreign countries, new figures for England and Wales show.

Data released on Monday by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) comes after new rules were introduced meaning that visitors to Spain must self-isolate for 14 days on returning to the UK.

The data shows the number of fixed-penalty notice (FPNs) that police forces across England and Wales issued for breaches of lockdown rules, including those regarding the travel quarantine, between 27 March and 20 July.

NPCC chair Martin Hewitt said enforcement of the travel regulations, breaches of which can be punished with fines of between £100 and £1,000, was primarily a matter for the UK Border Force and public health officials.

The NPCC figures do not include fines issued by Border Force, which had given out three penalties by 10 July, when quarantine rules for people returning to or visiting the UK from a list of countries were relaxed.

Mr Hewitt said compliance with the rules had been good, but added that “it's really difficult to understand how people will respond” after Spain was removed from the UK's list of safe destinations over a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.

“You would hope that people would come back and be responsible,” he said.

“I would hope they would be, but we will be in a position to carry out the role that we have in this, which is a secondary role to both the border force and Public Health England, as we are required to do so."

The lone fine for breaching travel quarantine rules was issued by Lincolnshire Police earlier in July.

A total of 18,669 FPNs were issued in England and Wales between 27 March and 20 July, the vast majority of which (14,015) were for breaches of guidelines regarding restriction of movement.

Men, particularly young men, received a disproportionate number of the total fines, with 70 per cent issued to men under 45, who make up 22 per cent of the population.

Additional reporting by Press Association