Coronavirus: Number of lockdown fines revealed while crime plummets
Lockdown flouters in Suffolk have been fined 95 times and in Norfolk 126 times since rules were brought in last month – but crime overall has plummeted
Nationally, almost all offences have dropped dramatically. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that most are now closed, shoplifting has fallen by 54% in England and Wales.
Robbery has fallen by 27%, rape by 37%, burglary by the same amount and vehicle crime has dropped 34%.
Calls to 999 are down by 14% and there has been a 13% drop in 101 calls, while online reports are up 61%, according to the data compiled by the National Police Chiefs Council.
Nationally over the past month crime is down 28% on the same period last year.
And while fines have been handed out for people dodging lockdown rules on non-essential trips, the 3,203 handed out across England and Wales between March 27 and April 13 equates to just 0.01% of the eligible population.
In Suffolk and Norfolk, the fines handed out represents an even smaller group at around 0.005%.
On March 26, the government announced new public health regulations to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
The measures entitled officers to issue £60 fines to those refusing to comply after officers explained to them why following the rules is important.
Under lockdown rules you should only leave the house for essential reasons including work, food shopping, delivering supplies to vulnerable people or an hour of exercise a day in your local area.
While the vast majority of people have complied there have been some exceptions.
Of all the 3,203 fines imposed 82% were given to men, and 15% to women, with 3% unknown. A third went to 18 to 24 year olds, with a further third going to those aged 25 to 34.
NPCC chief Martin Hewitt, said the reduction meant forces were able to cope despite an absence rate of 10%.
'We have seen a small minority of people who, despite our best efforts, have refused to follow the instructions'
He added: “Our message to the public is keep reporting crime to us.
“To those in danger or at risk, my message is we will come when you call for help.
"The vast majority of people are staying at home in order to protect the NHS and help save lives. However, we have seen a small minority of people who, despite our best efforts, have refused to follow the instructions and officers have needed to use their enforcement powers.
“I want to thank everyone who is being responsible and following the regulations.
“Provisional data on the number of fines issued by police forces shows proportionate policing of these new regulations. Police have interacted with the public in their tens of thousands, with most engagements ending positively and with no need for a fine.
“Our approach our approach of - engage, explain and encourage, and only as a last resort, enforce - is working and will continue."