Only six people have been fined by police for not wearing a mask on public transport in the two weeks between July 7 to July 20, new figures from forces in England and Wales revealed today.
The data, published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), shows that only one fine has been issued to a person who breached coronavirus quarantine rules after coming back from abroad.
The report comes after holidaymakers in Spain and its islands were told they would have to self-isolate for 14 days when returning to the UK.
From 15 June, face coverings have been required while using public transport in England. The regulations apply to all passengers on trains, buses, Tubes, coaches, trams, planes or ferries.
The new data does not include fines issued by UK Border Force, which had issued three penalties by July 10, when quarantine rules for people returning to or visiting the UK from a list of countries were relaxed.
NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said enforcement of the regulations, breaches of which can be punished with fines of between £100 and £1,000, is primarily a matter for Border Force and public health officials.
He said compliance with the rules had been good, but added “it’s really difficult to understand how people will respond” after Spain was removed from the UK’s list of safe destinations over a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.
“You would hope that people would come back and be responsible,” he said.
“I would hope they would be, but we will be in a position to carry out the role that we have in this, which is a secondary role to both the border force and Public Health England, as we are required to do so.
“Of course, you know it’s not inconceivable that this could happen with other countries as we move forward, and I think the Government has made clear about that as well, so we will monitor that and work through the process.”
The ticket for breaching quarantine rules, which was issued by Lincolnshire Police, was one of only eight fixed penalty notices handed out in England in the two weeks to July 20, with none in Wales.
Six of the fines were handed to people who failed to wear face coverings on public transport.
Between 15 June and 19 July 32 Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued under the regulations.
In total, 16,029 fines were issued by forces between 27 March and 20 July in England. 2,640 were issued by forces in Wales for the same period.
Passengers caught not complying with the regulations can be fined £100 and removed from services.
The other fine in the latest two-week period was issued by Northamptonshire Police for a breach of rules around gatherings.
Figures are not yet available for breaches of regulations introduced on Friday making it compulsory for most people to wear face coverings in shops.
But Mr Hewitt said: “I certainly, in my trawl around how the weekend has gone, have heard of no instances around particular issues in shops. I’m not aware of any fines having been issued.”
The NPCC said the figures do not include fines issued during the local Leicester lockdown.