Police officers from 37 forces in England and Wales have issued 1,084 fines for breaches of coronavirus regulations up until Thursday.
Despite some high-profile reports of people breaking the government’s COVID-19lockdown restrictions in recent days, the vast majority of the population appears to have adhered to the rules this sunny Easter weekend to only go out for essential food and medicine and exercise.
Chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt said there had been a “small minority of people” who have failed to follow the guidance brought in during the pandemic.
“Across all of those (37) forces, that is an average of less than 84 a day,” he added.
“This shows that the overwhelming majority of people are abiding by the rules and are staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
“In those few cases where police forces have made mistakes with those new regulations, they have quickly sought to correct them and provide clarity.”
He said police will publish enforcement data every fortnight during the crisis.
Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley said on Thursday: “We’ve had examples of people sunbathing in the park, having barbecues in the park, we’ve had large gatherings of family members.
“To those people, I am saying ‘your time is up’.”
Mr Hewitt also said there has been a 21% drop in overall crime in the past four weeks compared to the same period last year.
He said officers were still working to tackle crime such as drug smuggling and fraud.
He added: “Initial figures from all forces show a 21% fall in overall crime.
“That drop, combined with the commitment of our over 200,000 officers and staff across the UK, the fantastic response from our volunteer special constables, means that we are in a strong position.”
Mr Hewitt highlighted examples, such as seven people being arrested in London as part of an ongoing investigation into serious violent crime.
Some of those held were trying to flee the country, he added.
He echoed Home Secretary Priti Patel’s focus on domestic abuse, telling victims: “We will come when you call for help”, and warning offenders not to see the lockdown as “a time when you can get away with this”.
“We will still arrest, we will still bring into custody and we will still prosecute,” he stressed.