Police are yet to fine a single arrival into England or Wales for breaching quarantine rules.
Just 10 tickets were handed out to passengers for not wearing face coverings on public transport, according to new figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) yesterday.
The data comes after new rules on self isolation were brought in for new UK arrivals — except a list of exemptions — was introduced on June 8, with anyone breaching the restrictions facing fines of up to £1,000. But quarantine rules have since been relaxed for people returning to or visiting the UK from a list of countries, including various popular holiday destinations.
The initial move was met with fierce criticism over the impact on the UK’s travel, tourism and hospitality industries, while Metro.co.uk later revealed coronavirus concerns among returning Brits, who were able to get on public transport and walk freely around the airport where they felt more masks should have been worn.
Commenting on the statistics, the NPCC said: ‘Up to June 22, no fines were issued by territorial forces in England and Wales for breaches of the requirement to quarantine following international travel.’
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The figures do not include fines given by Border Force, who have issued three penalties.
Two British nationals were fined at Coquelles, near Calais, in northern France, on June 28, while a European was issued a penalty in Hull the following day.
A Government spokesman said: ‘The quarantine system is informed by science, backed by the public and designed to keep us all safe.
‘We are seeing a high level of compliance and we expect this to continue as the vast majority of people will play their part to help stop the spread of this disease.
‘We will publish full data on the enforcement of these measures at the border in due course.’
Hampshire Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen, the NPCC lead for charging and out of court disposals, said: ‘At the first stage, quarantine contact will happen via public health officials.
‘Police forces will be contacted for further investigation if there is a concern that someone isn’t sticking to the rules.
‘We will make visits to the nominated address given by a passenger and if we are satisfied that the rules are being adhered to, the matter can then be resolved.’
Face coverings became mandatory on public transport on June 15 in England and passengers caught not complying with the regulations can be being fined £100 and removed from services.
The only force in England and Wales to issue fines was the British Transport Police, which handed out 10 penalties up to June 22, figures show.
But the NPCC said the data does not cover incidents where someone has been refused travel, with police only getting involved if ‘significant issues’ are reported.
A total of 18,656 fixed-penalty notices (FPNs), including 16,019 in England and 2,637 in Wales, have been recorded by forces up to July 6, according to the provisional data.
Police were first given powers to break up gatherings and fine people for breaching restriction of movement rules under the Health Protection Regulations 2020 on March 27.
Just 97 fines were issued in England and 57 handed out in Wales during the two weeks to July 6.
The NPCC said the figures do not include fines issued during the local Leicester lockdown, where 42 were handed out up to July 6.
Martin Hewitt, NPCC chairman, said: ‘In order to avoid further peaks and local lockdowns, I’m again stressing the need for everyone to be personally responsible and think twice before they go about their business – plan your trips, wear coverings where necessary, and don’t cram in public places where distancing is already difficult to achieve.’
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