Police have handed out 250 massive £10,000 fines since the law was introduced to clamp down on lockdown rule breakers.
Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, detailed an horrendous incident officers faced in Brick Lane in London as he welcomed a new toughening of laws in the Government’s lockdown clampdown.
Mr Hewitt said officers were injured at a 40-strong house party where “hostile” lockdown-flouting revellers were “cramped indoors” at the height of the third national lockdown.
He revealed forces have seen a significant increase in fines given out to those breaking the rules, with 250 people being slapped with the maximum £10,000 fine for organising parties of more than 30 people.
His warnings came at today’s Downing Street press briefing as Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that individuals attending house parties will be fined a minimum of £800 from next week in the latest strengthening of the laws in the ongoing covid lockdown crackdown.
What is your view? Have your say in the comments section
She told the Downing Street press conference: “Next week we will be introducing a new £800 fine for those attending house parties, which will double for each repeat offence to a maximum level of £6,400.
“These fines will apply to those who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in homes.
“The science is clear: such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant threat to public health. Not only to those in attendance but to our wonderful police officers who attend these events to shut them down.”
This means lockdown rule-breakers who attend house parties will be slapped with a new £800 fine on a first offence from next week.
Patel tonight announced the steep new penalty was specifically aimed at house parties of 15 or more people.
She said the penalty – which like other fines will double on repeat offences, up to a cap of £6,400 – will begin next week.
It is four times the current £200 fine for most Covid breaches – though less than the £10,000 fine for organising parties of more than 30 people.
Mr Hewitt said that, unlike the £10,000 fine for gatherings over 30, the £800 fine for gatherings over 15 would apply to both organisers and attendees.
He said: “They’re dangerous, irresponsible and totally unacceptable.
“And I hope the likelihood of an increased fine acts as a disincentive for people who are thinking of attending or organising such events.”
Mr Hewitt said 250 of the £10,000 fines had been given out so far to organisers of large gatherings.
They included one in London’s Brick Lane in which there were “40 people cramped indoors” and “hostile to police” – leaving three officers injured.
Police broke up another party in Hertfordshire with 150 people attending, music equipment and mixing desks.
Mr Hewitt said “this is about saving lives”.
He said officers will not “waste time” trying to reason with people breaking the rules in such a way.
He said: “When we see people that are putting themselves and others in danger, we will not waste time trying to reason with them.
“They are demonstrating no regard for the safety of others, or even for themselves.”