Covid fines more than double in Suffolk during third lockdown

A police car drives through Ipswich town centre on Boxing Day. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A police car drives through Ipswich town centre on Boxing Day - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Suffolk police have issued more Covid fines in the last few months than during the entire preceding pandemic period.

Officers handed out 454 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) in the eight weeks between December 20 and February 14, new figures show.

Previously, from March until that point, there had been 315 fines - meaning the overall number has more than doubled to 769 fines in recent months.

Last night, Suffolk police said it was important people continued to adhere to the rules as lockdown is eased in the coming months. 

The news comes after people from Ipswich were fined for driving 60 miles to the coast in Sea Palling on Saturday.

The rise is said to have reflected a shift towards swifter enforcement for clear breaches.

Last month, it was revealed Suffolk police handed out more fines in the first full week of January than during the entire second lockdown.

Officers dished out 60 FPNs in the seven days to January 10, compared to 44 between November 5 and December 2.

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Temporary Superintendent Simon Mills, Covid response lead at Suffolk police, said it was particularly important for the public to adhere to regulations over the next few months of planned stages to ease out of lockdown.

"As we all continue to play our part to stop the spread of the virus, officers will continue to take the well-established Four E’s approach, to engage, explain and encourage everyone to follow the regulations, using enforcement when required," he added.

Temporary Superintendent Simon Mills Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Temporary Superintendent Simon Mills - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

"Increased numbers of fines were issued across the country during December and January. 

"These increases were in line with increased infection rates and regulatory changes aimed at reducing the number of deaths and relieving pressures on the NHS over the winter months.

"We responded to increased calls from the public who reported breaches by those who disregarded the regulations. 

"Fixed penalty notices were issued to those who chose to blatantly ignore the rules by holding gatherings, travelling to the coast or visiting second homes.

"We will continue with the Four E’s approach, as we await further guidance from the College of Policing and National Police Chiefs’ Council in relation to the next four stages and the roadmap out of lockdown.”

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