First NPCC coronavirus enforcement figures show high level of compliance

Provisional data from police forces in England and Wales shows that overall crime has fallen by 28 per cent in the four weeks to April 12 as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

Apr 15, 2020
By Tony Thompson

Serious assaults and personal robbery are down by 27 per cent and rape by 37 per cent. Falls have also been recorded in residential burglary (down 37 per cent), vehicle crime (down 34 per cent) and shoplifting (down 54 per cent), compared with the same period last year.

Calls to 999 have dropped by 14 per cent and there has been a 13 per cent reduction in 101 calls, although the number of people reporting crime online has risen by 61 per cent.

National Police Chiefs’ Council chair Martin Hewitt said: “The service across the UK currently has an overall absence rate of ten per cent, covering both officers and staff, and not simply relating to Covid-19. With reductions in crime, policing is in a strong, resilient position due to the brilliant commitment of officers and staff and the extra hours of our police volunteers.

Fines issued by police officers in England and Wales for breaches of government public health regulations equate to less than 0.01 per cent of the eligible population – with 3,203 fines issued in England between March 27 and the April 13.

Eighty-two per cent of fines were given to men and 15 per cent to women, with three per cent unknown. A third of fines were handed out to those aged 18 to 24, with a further third to those aged 25 to 34.

“The vast majority of people are staying at home in order to protect the NHS and help save lives,” said Mr Hewitt. However, we have seen a small minority of people who, despite our best efforts, have refused to follow the instructions and officers have needed to use their enforcement powers.

“Provisional data on the number of fines issued by police forces shows proportionate policing of these new regulations. Police have interacted with the public in their tens of thousands, with most engagements ending positively and with no need for a fine. Our approach – of engage, explain and encourage, and only as a last resort, enforce – is working and will continue.”

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