Failing to cough up: Ignored Covid fines sees Northumbria Police area listed among places where people are least likely to pay
More than three in five coronavirus fines have gone unpaid in some parts of England, figures suggest, and have shown the region’s police forces listed in the top of the table where the fines will go without being paid.
Research has found Northumbria Police, Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police were among nine forces where 60% or more of the penalties have gone unpaid within 28 days between March 27 and September 21.
In Northumbria the proportion was 68%, with 188 out of 278 fines not paid, while in Durham that stood at 115 out of 178 fines unpaid and 64.1%, according to data from the criminal records office ACRO which administers the fines.
The highest was in the Cleveland force area, where 72% of fines for the period, 215 out of 298, went unpaid.
The region’s forces also appear in the list of where 40% of more of fines were rescinded, with Northumbria’s at 13%, which is 35 fines, Durham’s at 19%, which is 33 fines, and Cleveland’s the most at 21% and 63 fines.
Yesterday, Tuesday, November 17, it emerged forces have been told to stop handing out £10,000 super-fines and issue a court summons amid concerns of potential disparity in the process for those asked to pay up within 28 days and others who challenge the penalty notices in court.
Owen Weatherill, the officer leading the policing response to the pandemic, told MPs last month it had taken forces time to understand the changing rules and pushed the Government to keep messaging simple.
A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs Council said: “We have enforced the law as set by the Government and Parliament.
“It is only right that fines are then processed in accordance with the law and we therefore encourage people not intending to contest a fine to pay it.
“If any individuals are concerned about why they have received a fine, they can raise it with the force which issued the FPN within the 28-day payment period.
“Officers will have recorded their justifications for issuing an FPN, along with providing evidence to support any breaches of the regulations.
“Once a fine is contested or unpaid the case will proceed to court.”