Only three police forces in England fined people for not wearing face coverings in indoor public places during the coronavirus pandemic, a study found today.

British Transport Police are the leading force in issuing fines, having given out 51 fines after stopping 50,729 people between June 30 and September 8.

BTP have made 3,545 ‘interventions’ with passengers on public transport who were not wearing coverings approached by officers and asked to leave.

Face coverings were made compulsory in England on public transport on June 15, in shops on July 24 and a series of indoor locations on August 8. 

Police officers wearing masks speak to a man at London Bridge Underground station on July 6

Police officers wearing masks speak to a man at London Bridge Underground station on July 6

The only other two forces enforcing fines against those breaking the rules have been Lancashire Constabulary with two and Lincolnshire Police with one.

With the fines standing at £100 for first offences, this means just £300 worth of fines have been issued by police forces excluding BTP, who patrol trains across Britain.

When did England’s face mask rules begin? 

  • June 15: Public transport
  • July 24: Shops
  • August 8: Indoor locations

The findings came from a series of Freedom of Information requests sent to all 40 forces in England by London-based marketing agency Reboot Digital.

Separate figures issued by the National Police Chiefs Council last week suggested police have given out 61 fines for failing to wear a face covering on public transport, up from 38 up to the middle of August, while 28 were handed out for not using a mask in shops.

The greater number could be because six forces – including the Metropolitan Police and Greater Manchester Police – did not respond to Reboot’s survey.

A police officer wears a mask as he stands on the concourse at London Waterloo on June 15

A police officer wears a mask as he stands on the concourse at London Waterloo on June 15

Last week Stanley Johnson, the father of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, apologised after being photographed in a shop in London without a face mask. 

FINES ISSUED BY POLICE IN ENGLAND
POLICE FORCE FINES ISSUED
British Transport Police 51
Lancashire Constabulary 2
Lincolnshire Police 1
Avon and Somerset Constabulary 0
Bedfordshire Police 0
Cambridgeshire Constabulary 0
Cheshire Constabulary 0
City of London Police 0
Cleveland Police 0
Cumbria Constabulary 0
Derbyshire Police 0
Devon and Cornwall Constabulary 0
Dorset Police 0
Durham Constabulary 0
Essex Police 0
Gloucestershire Police 0
Hampshire Police 0
Hertfordshire Constabulary 0
Humberside Police 0
Kent Police 0
Leicestershire Constabulary 0
Merseyside Police 0
Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies 0
North Yorkshire Police 0
South Yorkshire Police 0
Staffordshire Police 0
Surrey Police 0
Thames Valley Police 0
Warwickshire Police 0
West Mercia Police 0
West Midlands Police 0
West Yorkshire Police 0
Wiltshire Police 0
Greater Manchester Police not responded
Metropolitan Police not responded
Northamptonshire Police not responded
Northumbria Police not responded
Nottinghamshire Police not responded
Sussex Police not responded

The police and Transport for London have enforcement powers including issuing fines of £200, reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days, for the first offence. 

Repeat offenders will have their fines doubled at each offence – and after the first offence there is no discount, so the second fine is £400 and the third £800 up to a maximum of £6,400.

But there are exemptions for children under the age of 11, people with certain physical or mental disabilities, police officers and other emergency workers.

TfL has said its enforcement officers have stopped more than 100,000 customers from getting on its services until they put on face coverings. 

The data was revealed after it emerged last week that half the fines handed out by police for breaking coronavirus rules have gone unpaid, with around 9,000 rebels set to clog up the courts.

Some 51 per cent of the 18,646 fines handed out by police in the crisis have been ignored, refused or contested.

Prosecutors are now preparing for an avalanche of cases due to go through magistrates courts for failure to pay, including many refusing because they are disputing the circumstances of the fine being handed out.

Of the 18,646 enforcement letters sent out in England and Wales, only 9,428 fines have been paid, while a further 9,413 have refused.

The figures came as police chiefs faced questions over the effectiveness of penalty notices after figures showed that a tiny number of people had been punished for flouting self-quarantine travel rules, despite thousands being referrred to officers.

Some 4,114 cases have been referred to police by health authorities, but only 38 people were fined for failing to self-isolate after arriving from a country on the UK Government Quarantine list.

Police were unable to trace hundreds suspected of breaking the rules.

In 440 cases, police took no enforcement action after no one was home when they called and another 240 travellers escaped a penalty after lying about their home address or it being incorrectly recorded.

Separate data from forces in England revealed just 15 fines were handed out to those flouting the ‘rule of six’ regulations in the first week. 

Council issues closure notice issued to beauty salon that questioned existence of Covid-19 

Council chiefs have issued a closure notice to a beauty salon in Merseyside after a poster in its window denied the existence of Covid-19.

The poster at Skin Kerr in Bootle also said no face coverings were being worn on site despite rules requiring staff to wear surgical face masks and visors, and that ‘Covid talk is banned’.

Sefton Council said it has taken action to temporarily close the premises despite a number of visits from environmental health officers and a recent warning letter.

A poster at Skin Kerr in Bootle said no face coverings were being worn despite rules requiring staff to wear surgical face masks and visors, and that 'Covid talk is banned'

A poster at Skin Kerr in Bootle said no face coverings were being worn despite rules requiring staff to wear surgical face masks and visors, and that ‘Covid talk is banned’

Paulette Lappin, cabinet member for regulatory, compliance and corporate services, said: ‘It is the responsibility of businesses across Sefton to ensure they have the required measures in place to protect their staff and their customers from Covid-19 infection and we know that most of them are doing their utmost to comply.

‘And the council is working closely with the Health and Safety Executive to provide support and advice to our local businesses.

‘However, when businesses refuse to comply and insist on putting people at risk from the pandemic, we will not hesitate to take action against them as we have with Skin Kerr in Bootle.’



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