CHESHIRE Police has seen a significant drop in the number of fines is has issued for coronavirus-related law breaches since lockdown restrictions were eased.

The latest figures showing the number of fines for breaches of government public health regulations issued by each police force have been released today, Friday, by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC).

A revised total for the number of fines issued by Cheshire Police between March 27 and May 11 is 187.

But between May 11 and Monday, May 25, this only rose by six to 193.

Nationally, police forces in England have issued a total of 15,552 fines up to 25 May for breaches of government public health regulations.

After public health regulations were introduced on March 27, officers were given the power to issue fines to those failing to comply after officers engaged with them to explain risks to public health.

From Wednesday, May 13, the minimum fine in England increased from £60 to £100, reducing if paid within 14 days, while the upper limit increased from £960 to £3,200.

Martin Hewitt, NPCC chair, said: “As restrictions are carefully eased, the public have been able to go about their business in greater numbers, and with greater flexibility.

“The collective public effort over the past two months has meant police officers have only rarely had to step in to enforce regulations, and even less so in the past few weeks.

“I am confident the vast majority will continue to act responsibly.

“We will be issuing guidance to officers on how to approach new changes to the regulations in the coming days.”

After interpreting the data, the NPCC states that the majority of fines continue to be issued to males in the 18-24 age group.

Fines have been more likely to be given at weekends, taking in to account the recent bank holiday weekends, and during periods of warmer weather.

Across England since restrictions were eased, fines have been issued for reasons such as driving with non-household members, house parties, large gatherings of people from different households, and camping, among other things.

Mr Hewitt added: “There is still a responsibility on us all to abide by the regulations set in each part of the UK and to follow public health guidance as best we can when out and about.

“Throughout this pandemic, officers have only enforced as a last resort and have taken a common sense approach, applying their discretion and judgement when engaging with the public.”