In some regions of England, more than two-thirds of coronavirus fines are currently not paid.
Police forces in nine areas of the country have been unable to enforce financial sanctions for 60 percent or more of the Covid-19 rule breakers.
The staggering figures released by the PA News Agency under the Freedom of Information legislation showed that these nine armed forces went unpaid 60% or more of their sentences within 28 days between March 27 and September 21.
Cleveland is the armed forces area where 72% of the fines for the period – 215 out of 298 – have not been paid.
Northumbria fines are 68% unpaid – 188 out of 278 fines – while in West Yorkshire 66% of fines – 497 out of 756 – were unpaid fines, according to ACRO, the criminal records office that administers the fines.
A total of six other regional forces where 60% or more of fines were not paid within 28 days were Staffordshire (65%, 28 of 43), Durham (65%, 115 of 178), Humberside (63%, 88) out of 140), Merseyside (61%, 300 out of 492), West Midlands (61%, 230 out of 380) and South Yorkshire (60%, 225 out of 375).
For the UK traffic police, 60% of fines imposed in England were not paid within 28 days (197 out of 327), while fines imposed in Wales were 71% (17 out of 24).
Previous reports suggested that around half of coronavirus fines were not paid nationally within 28 days, although National Police Chiefs Council Chairman Martin Hewitt said that proportion was similar to other fixed sentences.
Areas in England where 60% or more of fines are not paid
1 Cleveland – 72%
2 Northumbria – 68%
3 West Yorkshire – 66%
= 4 Staffordshire – 65%
= 4 Durham – 65%
6 Humberside – 63%
= 7 Merseyside – 61%
= 7 West Midlands – 61%
9 South Yorkshire – 60%
A total of 18,912 fines were imposed in England and Wales between March 27 and September 21.
The members of the public who have been fined for coronavirus can primarily appeal to the police who issued the penalty for withdrawal.
In three areas of England, 40% or more of criminal complaints were overturned by the force after being issued during the period.
These were Merseyside (48% or 236), Staffordshire (47% or 20) and Derbyshire (44% or 111).
The same was true of the British traffic police in England, which withdrew 40% (131) of the fines.
Among the forces with the highest number of unpaid fines, Cleveland picked up 21% (63), Northumbria 13% (35) and the West Yorkshire Police 29% (217).
The UK Traffic Police in Wales withdrew 33% (8), Durham 19% (33), Humberside 1% (2), West Midlands 25% (94) and South Yorkshire 19% (70).
The numbers provide a snapshot of the data collected by the armed forces as of September 21, and due to the way the numbers are recorded, there may be some overlap between the number of fines unpaid, fines waived, and fines formally challenged contain.
Attorney Raj Chada, head of criminal defense at Hodge Jones and Allen, described Covid’s regulations as “chaos” and said criminal law must be clear and consistent or it will be “arbitrary and unfair”.
Kirsty Brimelow QC, a human rights attorney with Doughty Street Chambers, told PA that it was “foreseeable” that people would stop paying fines, some of which could not afford to pay them or feel they were breaking the law to violate, while others “possibly” are just annoying that those in power pretend that the laws do not apply to them “.
Calling for fines review bodies to be set up, she said, “It’s currently a lottery to see if you will be fined and if it will be lifted.
“And it is questionable how effective the imposition of fines is in preventing the virus from spreading.
“Rather, they add stress and hardship to people who are already suffering.”
The ACRO data also showed that a total of 293 fines imposed between March 27 and September 21 in England and Wales were officially challenged.
Madeleine Stone, legal and policy officer for campaign group Big Brother Watch, said the numbers “make it clear that the way police fined during the pandemic are seriously flawed,” describing unpaid fines as a “law enforcement crisis, waiting to happen “” adding, “The laws on lockdowns are constantly changing, complex and poorly worded. “
Owen Weatherill, the official who oversaw the police response to the pandemic, told MPs last month that it took time to understand the changed lockdown rules and that he urged the government to put the news to the public easy to hold.
A spokesman for the NPCC said: “We have enforced the law established by the government and parliament. It is only right that fines then be processed in accordance with the law, and so we encourage people who do not intend to challenge a fine for them to pay.”
“If people have concerns about why they received a fine, they can use the force that the FPN issued within the 28-day payment period to raise.
“Officials recorded their justifications for issuing an FPN and provided evidence to support violations of the regulations.
“Once a fine is challenged or unpaid, the case is brought to court.
“The police are reviewing all of these cases to ensure that only those cases that meet the evidence and test of public interest are tried.”