Human rights advocacy group Liberty said communities have been subjected to disproportionate and harmful policing while staff at Number 10 have been “attending drinks parties”.
Figures published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) show 656 fixed penalty notices were issued by Humberside Police between March 27 2020 and December 19 last year. Of these, 134 were recorded from May 17 2021, when different households were allowed to mix indoors for the first time following several months of lockdown.
Since that date, some forces have revised down their total number of fines, while others have issued hundreds.
FPNs can be rescinded following a review or cancelled altogether if multiple were issued in error, leading to some areas seeing a fall in the number of fines over time.
Across England and Wales, 124,581 fines have been issued by the 43 territorial police forces, British Transport Police and Ministry of Defence for alleged breaches of Covid-19-related laws since the pandemic began.
An NPCC spokesman said all forces have first sought to engage and explain Covid laws to people, and only enforce them when necessary.
Assistant Chief Constable Owen Weatherill, NPCC lead for Operation Talla, the police response to the pandemic, said there are still some restrictions in place for good reason.
He said: “Officers have very rarely had to use their powers in recent months, only enforcing where there are clear breaches of the rules or people haven’t responded to explanation and encouragement.”