Police have today apologised to hundreds of people wrongly arrested and charged as it was revealed a quarter of cases linked to breaking lockdown were dropped for being unlawful.
Assaults on emergency workers such as spitting and coughing at them were the most common coronavirus-related crimes prosecuted in the first six months of the pandemic, figures show.
But in other cases police were involved in dozens of miscarriages of justice after failing to apply the law correctly or unfairly targetting the public.
1,137 charges were specifically for breaking coronavirus laws brought in so police could enforce lockdown, the CPS said, but some 286 of these prosecutions were ‘withdrawn or set aside’ after alleged rulebreakers were wrongly charged, with some victims having to go to court before their cases collapsed.
In the majority of cases police had used the wrong legislation to charge the people – or they had not done anything wrong at all.
Gregor McGill, CPS Director of Legal Services, said: ‘I am confident the measures we have put in place will enhance the consistency of charging decisions across the country and ensure a fair criminal justice response for all as we adjust to these challenging times.’
Martin Hewitt, National Police Chiefs’ Council chair, said: ‘We apologise for the mistakes but all parties have worked hard to manage this new legislation as effectively as they can and to keep the public safe’.
Today police revealed a father-of-two has been arrested after he drove 350 miles with his wife and young family to get a kebab then crashed on the way home near Bristol.
The crashed BMW on the M5 belonging to a driver who had no licence or insurance who told officers they had travelled from Exeter to Coventry and back to pick up a kebab
Another Covidiot has been fined for making a 128-mile round trip to buy fish and chips in Great Yarmouth
The CPS has admitted that around a quarter of early cases were withdrawn because people were wrongly charged
The driver, who has not been named had no licence or insurance, crashed on the M5, near Portishead, Bristol.
EXCLUSIVE: Police chief’s daughter, 19, breaks lockdown rules by partying with 40 revellers at illegal gathering – despite her father instructing everyone to stay at home
The damning video footage of Amy and her mates in Leeds was posted to Snapchat by a fellow reveller from the event at 3am on Sunday. It is believed to have been held in one of the university’s halls of residence
The student daughter of a senior police chief has been caught on video at an illegal party brazenly flouting lockdown restrictions.
Second-year undergraduate Amy Slattery, 19, is seen dancing along to ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ with other students at Leeds Beckett University in the clip from a boozy Saturday night party where no masks or social distancing were evident.
Her father, Cumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable Andy Slattery, has been at the forefront of the fight to control the pandemic and is chair of the county’s multi-agency Covid-19 Strategic Coordination Group.
The damning video footage of Amy and her mates in Leeds was posted to Snapchat by a fellow reveller from the event at 3am on Sunday. It is believed to have been held in one of the university’s halls of residence.
The day after the party, the university tweeted on its official account: ‘Unfortunately a small number of students have breached the regulations by organising or attending parties/gatherings in halls, putting the safety and welfare of other residents and staff at risk.’
The young people in the video were clearly making no attempt to take precautions against Covid-19 as the music boomed out, despite the fact that Leeds has been hard-hit by the virus.
A source told MailOnline they had been ‘utterly disgusted’ to witness the footage from the party.
‘Of course, it’s not just Amy who was behaving irresponsibly, but given who her father is, it’s outrageous that she has ignored all the rules in this way.
‘Her dad is never off the local TV and radio, rightly ramming home the message that we must all adhere to the laws on wearing facemasks and maintaining a safe distance if we’re to stay safe from this disease.
‘Andy takes all this very seriously. This won’t go down well at all.’
The man, with his wife and two children, told officers they had travelled from Exeter to Coventry to pick up a kebab, and were on their way home when the smash occurred.
Officers fined the motorist for various offences, including driving with no licence or insurance, and coronavirus breaches.
Avon and Somerset’s road policing unit tweeted: ‘RTC on the M5 at Portishead. The driver had no licence or insurance. He had his wife, and 2 young children in the vehicle.
‘They were returning to Exeter from Coventry where they had travelled to buy a kebab. Driver reported for various offences including the Covid breach.’
Twitter users have responded angrily to these latest Covid rule breakers.
One user tweeted: ‘Exeter – Coventry return to buy a kebab uninsured + unlicensed driver, sure went out of his way to provide for his family.
‘Too many selfish unnecessary journeys happening nationwide adds to spread virus.
‘Stay home essential travel only!’
Another has been fined for making a 128-mile round trip just to buy fish and chips. The motorist drove from Mildenhall, in Suffolk, to Scratby, near Great Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast, for his dinner.
There are 16 chippies within a 12-mile radius from Mildenhall, according to Google.
However he decided to ignore lockdown rules – to stay local – and take an two hours and 40 minute round trip to the coast.
Norfolk Police found his reasons for travelling a bit fishy, and slapped with a fixed penalty notice.
Officers would not reveal how much the motorist was fined – with the minimum charge being £200.
The charges over the past year were among almost 6,500 coronavirus-related crimes prosecuted in the period, according to figures published on Thursday.
Some 1,137 charges were for breaking coronavirus laws, including a man caught travelling between counties in Wales to solicit the services of a sex worker and another who claimed 15 people having a party at his house in Manchester were part of his support bubble.
Other crimes the CPS ‘flagged’ as being coronavirus-related, for example if the offender was caught while found outside their home without a reasonable excuse, included 480 charges for public order offences, 466 for criminal damage and 464 for common assault.
Flouting coronavirus rules was regarded as an ‘aggravating feature’ of the crimes during sentencing.
Overall, 2,106 defendants were prosecuted for 6,469 coronavirus-related offences, with a conviction rate of 90%, according to the CPS.
The data includes the number of wrongful prosecutions, the CPS added, saying 286 had been ‘withdrawn or set aside’ as of October.
A sex-mad man has been slapped with a £200 Covid fine – for visiting a brothel during the pandemic.
Police found him entering the seedy property in Minster on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent at around 6pm last Friday.
He is one of 729 people who have been punished by Kent Police for breaching coronavirus legislation.
Fines have ranged from £200 to £1,000 for throwing parties, making non-essential trips or even going out in public while carrying the virus.
Other covidiots include three men and three women having a party at a house in Dartford on Saturday.
After dispersing the bash, officers were called back to find the three ladies attempting to hide in cupboards.
They were all fined despite one woman already receiving a fixed penalty notice after the first police attendance.
Over in Folkestone, another woman was fined at 1am on Saturday after admitting she had tested positive for Covid-19 three days earlier and should have been self-isolating.
Officers also busted a party of 20 people in Canterbury just after 9pm on Friday. Two men and a women were fined.
There were almost 6,500 coronavirus-related crimes prosecuted in the period, according to figures published on Thursday
Kent Police Headquarters, 729 people have been punished by the force for breaching coronavirus legislation since March 2020
Kent Police is pleading for people to continue following lockdown rules.
Britain said on Thursday it had prosecuted 6,500 people for coronavirus-related offences in the first six months following the nationwide lockdown last March, with most relating to assaults on emergency workers.
The Crown Prosecution Service said 1,688 people were charged with assaulting emergency staff, with many relating to police officers being coughed, spat at or bitten, or hit with heavy objects when they tackled suspected rule-breakers.
There were also another 1,200 people charged between the start of April and end of September for breaking specific rules to stop the spread of COVID-19, including a man who was caught travelling to solicit the services of a sex worker.
‘Particularly appalling is the high number of assaults on emergency workers still taking place and I will continue to do everything in my power to protect those who so selflessly keep us safe during this crisis,’ Max Hill, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said.
Moment police raid illegal party in a marquee with 50 revellers inside as organiser is hit with £10,000 fine for breaching Covid rules
This is the shocking moment police raid an illegal party in a marquee with 50 revellers inside.
Bodycam footage shows police officers storming in and breaking up the New Year’s Eve gathering in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.
Bedfordshire Police has handed the organiser a £10,000 fine after giving them a warning following a tip-off, but still returning to find dozens of party-goers.
The event featured a dance floor, disco lights, four speakers, tables and chairs.
Body cam footage shows police officers storming in and breaking up the illegal party in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, on New Year’s Eve
In the video, a police officer can be heard shouting ‘get out of the marquee now’ while a female responds: ‘I live here.’
A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: ‘People are being warned of the consequences of attending large gatherings during lockdown after the organiser of a New Year’s Eve party attended by dozens of people was issued with a £10,000 fine.
‘We have published an open letter to anyone looking to attend large gatherings such as parties, protests or funerals which breach the existing regulations, warning that officers will take enforcement action to disperse large groups of people.
‘The fresh call comes after action was taken against the organiser of a party at a location near Leighton Buzzard.
‘On 31 December officers called to the site had found a marquee with a number of tables and chairs, a small dance floor and four speakers.
‘The organiser was spoken to and given words of advice, but when officers returned later they found around 50 people in attendance.
‘Police were able to bring the event to a close and disperse the attendees. After reviewing the evidence, officers have now issued a £10,000 fine to main organiser for breaching Covid-19 regulations.’
Chief Superintendent John Murphy, who is leading the force’s Covid response, said: ‘Throughout the pandemic, we have been working with our partners to urge and remind members of the public to adhere to the Government guidance so we can all play our part in stopping the spread of the virus, so it is astonishing to see people brazenly and blatantly ignoring these rules.
Police officers wearing face coverings pictured approaching the revellers as they disband the illegal New Year’s Eve party in Bedfordshire
A police officer seen inside the marquee. The event featured a dance floor, disco lights, tinsel, balloons, four speakers and numerous tables and chairs
In the video, a police officer can be heard shouting ‘get out of the marquee now’ while a female responds: ‘I live here’. Police had earlier given a warning following a tip-off
‘This party was not only a huge breach, but also showed a total lack of respect to those people who haven’t been able to attend the funeral of a loved one, or spend Christmas and New Year with their friends and family, which is why we have not taken this lightly and have taken firm action.
‘We understand the past 10 months have been difficult for everyone and we are grateful to those who have been following the guidelines, but the pressure on the NHS is still immense and we all need to everything we can to keep ourselves and others safe.’
The force added that it has issued 103 fixed penalty notices for Covid-19 regulation breaches over the past week, with 399 incidents reported over the same period.
There were similar raves across the country, as Greater Manchester Police issued 105 fines, compared to 66 in Brighton and Hove.
The maximum fine for breaking coronavirus restrictions is £10,000 for the most egregious breaches.
A top police officer previously slammed New Year’s Eve revellers who ignored Covid lockdown rules and ‘decided partying was more important than protecting other people’.
Bottles of what appears to be alcohol pictured at the event in Bedfordshire. The organiser was handed a £10,000 fine after police found dozens of party-goers, despite giving a warning
Bedfordshire Police officers inside the marquee as they break up the party. The force has issued 103 fixed penalty notices for Covid-19 regulation breaches over the past week
Revellers pictured at the illegal gathering. Bedfordshire Police said: ‘The organiser was spoken to and given words of advice, but when officers returned later they found around 50 people’
A woman who organised an event in Sewardstonebury involving a fire dancer and an entertainer was fined £10,000.
Elsewhere in the county officers broke up an illegal rave at an abandoned church in East Horndon and another at a warehouse in Brentwood.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet criticised those who ‘decided to blatantly flout the coronavirus rules and regulations and, ultimately, they decided that partying was more important than protecting other people’.
Met Police issued 217 people with fixed penalty fines and five people could receive £10,000 fines for organising large gatherings across London.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier confirmed people would only be allowed to celebrate indoors on December 31 with people in their own household, saying the Government would ‘not be bringing in a special set of rules’ for New Year.
There are some exemptions that apply to gatherings, such as those that are necessary for work purposes, escaping the risk of harm and providing emergency assistance.
Source: Daily Mail |World News