Warwickshire Police have issued fewer fines to people breaching Government coronavirus rules than almost any other force in England.
Figures released by the National Police Chiefs Council last Friday show that between 27th March and 11th May, Warwickshire Police issued just 31 fines, with only the MOD police, which protects sites of national importance, issuing fewer, with 27.
To put this into context against the three highest fining forces, during the same period Met Police issued 906 fixed penalty notices over the same period, followed by Thames Valley with 866 and North Yorkshire Police with 843.
The comparatively low level of fines issued by Warwickshire Police is not necessarily a bad thing and potentially shows that the vast majority of county residents are sticking to the rules.
Assistant Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police Debbie Tedds said: “We pride ourselves on our relationships with our communities and partner agencies, and our Safer Neighbourhood Teams are at the heart of our policing model. Since the outset, our approach to policing the social distancing restrictions has been to engage with people, explain the guidance and encourage them to comply. We have moved to enforcement where this approach has failed, and where we have found people repeatedly flouting the restrictions.
“The vast majority of people in Warwickshire have been complying with the restrictions and showing that they understand the importance of stopping the spread of this disease. We review and analyse all reports from the public about potential breaches of the restrictions, and are visible and proactive in our communities, targeting those locations and instances identified to us.
“In most cases where we have engaged with people, they have had legitimate reasons for being out or agreed to comply after a conversation with our officers. We are confident that our approach has been in keeping with the national policing guidance and that our enforcement figures reflect the way people in the county have responded to the restrictions and the engagement with our officers. We have been getting positive feedback from our communities, which suggests we are getting the balance right.
“This week, the public health regulations changed, and that means the police role has changed. Our role now focuses on situations where people are gathering in groups in contravention of the amended regulations, and who have left their homes for one of the reasons not designated as a reasonable excuse.
“As many of us are now able to spend more time outdoors, each of us needs to take responsibility for doing that within the restrictions set out by the Government. This must continue to be a community effort. Our officers will continue to engage, explain and encourage – and will enforce where people are not complying and putting others at risk.”