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Almost half of the fines issued by police in England and Wales during the pandemic have not been paid.
Figures released by the National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) show that 124,626 fixed penalty notices (FPN) were handed out between 27 March 2020 and 27 February this year.
However, of those, 51,353 (41.21 percent) were not paid within the allotted 28 days and were subsequently sent through the courts, while a further 2,755 have been contested and 23 remain in the payment period.
According to the report released today (16 March), 70,495 fixed penalty notices were paid on time, bringing in £8.2 million to local councils.
Police say they aren't surprised by the level of non-compliance and that 'Covid FPNs are in line with what police would expect to see for other types of offence where FPNs are an appropriate outcome'.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Operation Talla, Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill said: "Everyone should continue being mindful of others when out and about, following the public health guidance in place for everyone’s safety – this virus is still within communities and is still leading to tragic loss of life.
"We have observed very high compliance of Regulations by the public throughout the pandemic. Officers have enforced where there were clear breaches of the rules or people haven't responded to explanation, engagement, and encouragement.
"The gradual ending of enforceable Coronavirus Regulations is a welcome development as we all move back to normal rhythms of life."
Of the fines issued in England, the majority were done so before 19 July 2021, when restrictions were lifted.
Between the re-introduction of face-covering rules in England on 30 November 2021 and up to their end on 27 January 2022, the NPCC says only nine FPNs were issued.
Jack Ramsay, from Coventry, was given the fine after allegedly holding group training sessions in a gazebo in his gym's car park while restrictions were in place that limited exercise activities.
The Tier 4 rules at the time allowed outdoor gyms to remain open for individuals, household groups, support bubbles or for two people with social distancing.
But within days police attended the gym following complaints Ramsay was breaking the rules - both times the police gave the venue the all-clear.
When the case eventually went to Coventry Magistrates’ Court in December, it was swiftly dismissed before he even got a chance to set foot in the courtroom.
Ramsay told the Metro: "I’m massively relieved and a bit bemused as well. I went to court to contest the £1,000 fine but I didn’t even make it into the room, the case was dismissed as soon as I got there."
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