Northamptonshire Police are top of the table for issuing Covid-19 fines

"Yes, we are extremely robust but the right thing to do by our public is to enforce those regulations"

Northamptonshire Police are top of the table when it comes to issuing Covid fines.

Official figures released on Thursday showed officers dished out 495 tickets between December and January 17 for various breaches of the coronavirus regulations across the county.

That works out at around 68 per 100,000 of the county's population — more than double most of the rest of the country — for offences such as mixing with other households, failing to wear face coverings when required.

North Yorkshire Police is closest to Northamptonshire, issuing 517 tickets but with a more sizeable population.

Superintendent Elliot Foskett, who leads the Northamptonshire Police covid-19 enforcement, revealed the figure of £200 fines issued since the start of the lockdown in January has now risen to around 700 at a rate of around 65 per day.

He told Friday's week County Council media briefing: "We have had reports of 1,800 breaches since start of lockdown in January and 459 in the past seven days — that's around 65 a day and we are getting to 70 per cent of those.

"Those we have not reached we're not we are following up.

Northamptonshire Police have issued around 700 Covid-19 fines since the beginning of December

"Despite messages over and over again, week upon week people still continue to breach occasionally by mixing with households when they are not supposed to.

"We've also been exceptionally robust as a county enforcing rules on face coverings. in fact we are one of the only Forces in country to take such a strong line on this.

"We all know keeping a two-metre distance is one of best things you can do. But wearing face coverings and PPE is absolutely vital and same people continue to be irresponsible and ignore the rules.

"Yes we are extremely robust on it and head and shoulders above every other force in the country but we feel the right thing to do by the vast majority of the public who are doing the right thing is to enforce those regulations..

Most Covid fines issued by Police forces per 100,000 of population between early december and January 17

"There is light at the end of the tunnel but we're not there yet. We're making progress but figures are still so high compared to where we were just a couple of months ago.

"It's important we do not let the encouraging figures become a signal for people to think I can just go and do that, can I bend the rules slightly, can I get away with this.Officers were called to break up a bash in Broad Street, Northampton, last weekend and found people came from South London and Slough celebrating a birthday!

Figures from the National Police Chiefs Council also revealed Northamptonshire Police issued ten £10,000 'super fines' to for organisers of gatherings of more than 30 people — although four more are still being processed.

Superintenden Elliot Foskett