'Selfish' few breach Covid rules with holiday home get-together

Police are cracking down on Covid rule breakers

The rate of fines processed for Covid-19 breaches in recent weeks has fallen significantly across the country - Credit: Archant

A 'selfish minority' of rule breakers ignored public health guidance despite declining rates of people breaching Covid-19 regulations in recent weeks.

Suffolk police reminded the public that restrictions remained in place after issuing fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to at least two hosts of parties attended by more than 20 people.

Provisional figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) showed the rate of fines processed in recent weeks had fallen significantly across the country.

NPCC statistics showed that, as of May 16, a total of 1,108 FPNs had been issued in Suffolk since regulations were introduced last March.

Numbers rose sharply as the country entered a third lockdown – before beginning to level off as steps were taken by the government to ease restrictions.

Due to processing lag, the NPCC's figures differ from the running total kept by the constabulary, which recorded 31 FPNs over the April/May period.

Up to 30 people can gather outdoors, while just six people, or two households of any size, can can meet indoors.

Participating in a gathering of more than 15 people can attract an £800 fine.

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Two FPNs were issued to the owners of properties where more than 20 people were gathered for a party.

Another was issued after police attended a holiday let where more than 15 people – from mostly different households – were gathered for a family social event.

Meanwhile, a man living alone was handed an FPN after about 17 people came and went from the property at different times of the day.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman: “We are not surprised to see the numbers of FPN issued decline in recent weeks as the easing of lockdown continues.

“Everyone must remember some restrictions still remain for everyone’s safety, so we’d ask that everyone please continue to follow the remaining rules. 

"For the selfish minority who continue to blatantly break the rules, such as organising or attending illegal indoor gatherings, officers won’t hesitate to take necessary enforcement action.”

Police in England and Wales have processed a total of 115,203 FPNs for breaches of coronavirus restrictions up to May 16.

NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said the emergence of new variants in recent weeks had reinforced the need to be personally responsible and follow the remaining rules, adding: "I understand people will want to go out and enjoy themselves, but this still needs to be done responsibly and safely."

NPCC figures showed that five FPNs had been issued in Suffolk to people failing to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

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