Just two people in six months have been fined for not wearing face masks by police force covering Milton Keynes

Data from Thames Valley police reveal two people have received Covid fines for failing to wear face masks.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 4:25 pm

The figures for face mask penalties cover the period between July 24 2020 and January 17, as those for February are not yet available.

The data, which come from the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), also shows five people in the TVP area have been fined for holding gatherings of more than 30 people.

Another 14 people have been penalised for breaching international travel regulations during the Covid crisis, while five people have been fined for breaking business regulations about Covid safety

Two people in the Thames Valley policing area have been fined for not wearing a mask in a public place

In total, Thames Valley officers have issued 1,122 Covid-related fixed penalty notices (FPNs) since the first 2020 lockdown began. The vast majority of these were issued for contravening local movement restrictions as well as breaking rules about how many people could meet up outdoors during lockdown.

The NPCC research shows the majority of FPNs - around eight in 10 - issued under this regulation type were issued to males.

Less than half (42 per cent) were issued to individuals aged between 18 and 29.

"Of 866 or the records where ethnicity was provided, the majority (63 per cent) were issued to individuals who self-identified as White," said an NPCC spokesman.

Police have the power is issue on the spot penalty notices of £200 for breaches of Covid regulations. The amount reduces to £100 if the fine is paid within 14 days. If someone repeats an offence after receiving an FPN, they could be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000 in court.

The NPCC says the number of FPNs issued should not be seen as a measure of the amount of police activity involved in policing the new measures, or the level of public non-compliance. This is because fines are issued as a "last resort" after initial attempts to engage with the public to explain and encourage compliance with the new regulations have not been successful.

They say "very few" FPNs were issued in the first couple of months that the regulations were in place. However, at the start of October 2020 the number of fines increased and there was an upward trend throughout January this year.

Nationally, 1,068 FPNs have issued under face coverings in a relevant place regulations over the months. The most active police force has been West Mercia, which has issued a quarter of the notices to date - 209 out of 1,068 - for individuals not wearing face coverings.