Revealed: Nearly 2,000 Covid fines issued in Shropshire and Mid Wales

Nearly 2,000 Covid fines have now been handed out in Shropshire and Mid Wales, new figures reveal.

The fines, which were introduced in March with the country-wide lockdown, were extended earlier this month – with more severe penalties for those who breach the rules.

From March 21 to September 21, West Mercia Police have issued 170 of the fines, but the figure is dwarfed by neighbouring Dyfed Powys Police, across the Welsh border, where officers have handed out the most of any force in England and Wales – 1,731.

The number of fines in Mid Wales is a result of large numbers of visitors travelling to Powys beauty spots during full lockdown – with a significant number from Shropshire and the West Midlands.

Across England and Wales 18,912 of the fines have been issued.

More Covid-19 coverage:

Under the latest rules, police in Shropshire have not yet fined anyone over refusals to wear face coverings in a relevant place or on public transport.

The figures come as police in the county have stepped up their enforcement of the new rules – introduced on September 22.

Today police confirmed that 12 people in Telford had been hit with fines for breaching the 'rule of six', which means people can only meet in groups of up to six people.

Officers said that 12 people had been at a 'social gathering' on Sunday, when they were called.

All 12 people found at the house were given fixed penalty notices.

Telford commander, Superintendent Jim Baker, said they would be taking a "robust" approach to those who break the rules.

'A very small minority'

He said: “We know the vast majority of people are adhering to the new Covid legislation and ‘Rule of Six’ and are acting incredibly responsibly.

“Unfortunately, though there is a very small minority, and it is only a small minority, who are breaking the laws and where there are clear breaches we will take a robust approach to enforcement.

“I know the regulations are having an impact on all of our lives but it really is important we all do our bit to stop the spread and help save lives.”

Chief Superintendent Sue Thomas said: “We know the vast majority of people are adhering to the new Covid legislation and ‘Rule of Six’ and are acting sensibly and responsibly.

“However, increasing infection rates demonstrate that there is a small minority of people who are choosing to break the law and putting people at risk as a direct result of their actions.

“I want to make clear that anyone who chooses to ignore the regulations and restrictions can expect strict enforcement from West Mercia Police and to be given a Fixed Penalty Notice which attracts a fine.

Impact

“I know the regulations are having an impact on all of us but it really is important we all do our bit to stop the spread and help save lives.”

The fine is one of only 18 issued in England since the rules were brought in.

Police have declined to comment on the name of the business which was fined but Chief Superintendent Paul Moxley said: “The majority of our communities are adhering to the new Covid legislation and laws and are acting very responsibly. It is therefore unacceptable that a minority of people are continuing to disregard the rules and as a consequence a £10,000 fine was given to the organisation hosting the wedding party in Telford.

“It is believed that around 120 people were attending the event in Stafford Park, all of whom left the venue when we attended and spoke to them. Therefore no fixed penalty notices were given to the guests."

The national figures have come from the National Police Chiefs’ Council and its chair, Martin Hewitt, said the number of fines represented only a small part of discussion between officers and the public.

He said: “Coronavirus is something we have all had to rapidly adapt to, and officers have had to pick up new regulations in a record pace, and apply them across the population. The number of instances where enforcement action is necessary at all is a fraction of the total engagement we have had with the public.

“Enforcement doesn’t and shouldn’t always equal police involvement. Individuals, businesses and a range of agencies all have a responsibility to ensure the virus is suppressed, and police will continue to play their part.”

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