Police reveal huge number of people fined for breaking self-isolation rules in England and Wales

By Philip Norris

Hundreds of people were fined in England and Wales for breaching self-isolation rules during the various stages of lockdown, new figures have revealed.

Fines linked to failing to obey various self-isolation rules have been broken down by the National Police Chiefs' Council, which revealed how tens of thousands of Fixed Penalty Notices were handed out in total from March 27, 2020, to December 19, 2021.

Most fines in England were related to people gathering in a private dwelling or any indoor space in the Tier 4 area with 32,062 FPNs issued.

In Wales, the most common reason was breaching the requirement not to participate in a gathering in private with 3,889 fines issued.

But there were also 163 FPNs handed out for people breaching self-isolation rules in England between March 27, 2020 and December 19, 2021 with the largest number in Merseyside and South Yorkshire at 13 each. There were 11 FPN issued in Lancashire and 10 in Staffordshire.

No fines for breaching self-isolation regulations were issued in a number of counties, including Dorset, West Mercia and Gloucestershire.

In Wales, there 77 FPNs for not isolating, and five for not ensuring a child self-isolated.

Under requirements to self-isolate after international travel between June 8 and December 19, there were 697 FPNs issued for arriving in England and failing to self-isolate, eight FPNs for failing to travel directly to place of self-isolation, four FPNs for failing to ensure a child self-isolates and 19 fines for contravening instruction of authorised person enforcing self-isolation requirements.

Fines for those breaching self-isolation rules started at £1,000 and could have increased to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and the most serious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.

Self-isolation rules in England change on Monday (January 17) when the amount of time people with Covid-19 in England have to spend in self-isolation is to be cut to five full days, the Health Secretary said.

Sajid Javid told MPs in the House of Commons: “After reviewing all of the evidence, we’ve made the decision to reduce the minimum self-isolation period to five full days in England.

“From Monday, people can test twice before they go – leaving isolation at the start of day six."

How many FPNs in total were issued?

Police forces in England and Wales gave out tens of thousands of fixed penalty notices to people breaching Covid restrictions between March 27, 2020 and December 2021, the recently released figures have shown.

There were 106,907 FPNs issued in England and 12,056 in Wales - with most up to July 19, 2021, after which most restrictions were lifted in England and in Wales on August 6.

Most FPNs given to men

The data, released by the NPCC, said that seven out of 10 FPNs were issued to men and just over three-quarters (75 per cent) were to under 35s.

The NPCC said that no FPNs have been issued since July 18, 2021 when most restrictions were lifted.

Police in Wales have issued 34 FPNs since 6th August 2021 which restrictions were lifted, 13 of which have been issued since October 15 2021 when these figures were last published.

Face masks

Between June 15 2020 and July 18, 2021, police handed out 626 FPNs in England and Wales for people not wearing face masks on public transport.

This measure was relaxed in July, but face covering legislation was re-introduced in December as part of Plan B as the omicron variant spread - there is no information yet on how many FPNs have been introduced in this period.

Most of the facemask-linked FPNs issued during lockdown were to men - around eight in 10 - and more than half were those between 18 and 29.


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