Kent Police issue 53 fines for breaching coronavirus regulations

Stone Bay Photo Jane Wenham-Jones

Kent Police has issued 53 fines for breaches of government public health regulations under the Coronavirus Act between March 27 and April 13.

A total of 3,203 fines have been issued in England in the same timeframe.

The Government introduced the public health regulations to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The measures mean officers can issue individuals with £60 fines if they failed to comply after they have been engaged with, explained the risks to public health and encouraged voluntary compliance.

Up to last Friday just one fine had been issued in Thanet, to a woman in Ramsgate.

Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix said: “It was pleasing to see the majority of people in Kent adhered to the Government’s advice about staying home over the Easter weekend.

“Despite the warm weather and the four day weekend, many resisted the urge to venture out unless it was absolutely essential.

“Kent Police officers continued to patrol the county and where necessary reminded people of their responsibilities to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. However, there were some who ignored this advice and officers issued fines as a result.

“This included three people who travelled from London to the beach in Hythe to spend the day together on April 11 and several incidents where people were found to be travelling in vehicles with people not from the same household.

“The Easter weekend may now be over but the Government guidance for public safety during this pandemic remains and we urge everyone to follow the advice given.

“Kent Police will continue to engage with the public, explain to people their personal responsibilities during this unprecedented time and encourage them to follow the national public health advice. Enforcement, such as fines, is only used as a last resort.

“The force will also be following the national direction for all police forces in publicising its data on fines issued for breaking the coronavirus guidance on a fortnightly basis so that the public can be assured the force is doing all it can to keep them safe.”

Powers enacted by the government mean police may:

  • instruct people to go home, leave an area or disperse
  • ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking the rules
  • issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
  • issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence
  • Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

Curbs on public life to try and control the spread of the virus:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family.

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