SLOUGH saw the most fines issued to rule-breakers flaunting Covid-19 restrictions in the Thames Valley area, the head of the borough’s police said.
Superintendent Gavin Wong, area commander for Slough, told councillors 191 fixed penalty notices were distributed to people breaching coronavirus restrictions.
He said: “We had the largest number of fixed penalties in the force. It’s not because we’re over-zealous, or anything like that – but our communities are so densely populated that I think it’s hard for people to conform sometimes.
“We work very hard to encourage [people to follow the rules] – but where we needed to enforce, we did, and we will continue to do that as I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Overall, officers issued over 850 fines to rule-breakers across the Thames Valley area.
The reported figures were before the second national lockdown where people were fined for not following the rule of six and not wearing a face-covering where it’s mandated, such as supermarkets or public transport, without a reasonable excuse.
Superintendent Gavin Wong said: “I think there will always be examples of ‘I saw this’ and ‘people were doing that’ – but I think the breaches, when you think of the number of people, were fairly small and I think we dealt with that very well.”
He added: “We will still continue to engage and encourage – but if we got people that are clearly breaching the rules, then we will issue fines.
“We have been doing and we have been issuing a number of fines in Chalvey – but we do have to do it in a fair way and in way which will satisfy the courts if fines are challenged.”
Those 18 and over can be fined £100 for the first offence – reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days – doubling on each repeat offence up to a maximum of £3,200.
In total, there were 977 Covid-related incidents of people violating the rules which were attended by officers in Slough and nearly 200 Covid-related crimes recorded in the borough.
It was also reported that from April 1 to October 25, there were 80 assaults on Slough police officers with some of them being spat at.
There were 20 assaults in Slough that were Covid-related with one officer being exposed to a ‘bloodborne virus risk’.
There were 945 assaults on Thames Valley police officers in total – which represents a 103 per cent increase from last year, the report states.
The government announced an additional 20,000 police officers across the force over the next three years, with Slough set to get 22 new officers in the first wave of recruits.
Chief Constable John Campbell said “we will look to give as many as we can for frontline policing”.
Thames Valley Police has so far recruited 183 officers and they predict they will have 4,103 police officers overall by March 2021.
The Thames Valley Police update was presented to councillors of the overview and scrutiny meeting on November 4 (Wednesday).