Significantly higher number of fines and warnings for COVID-19 rule breakers in Welwyn Hatfield than nearby areas

Policeman

Welwyn Hatfield saw a far higher rate of fines and warnings for COVID-19 rule violations than nearby areas. - Credit: Joe Giddens

There were almost seven times more fines given out in Welwyn Hatfield than in Stevenage for breaking COVID-19 rules last year.

Between July 1 2020 and January 6 2021, there were 47 fixed penalty notices handed out in Welwyn Hatfield to people who broke the rules, compared to only seven in Stevenage and three in St Albans.

Fixed penalty notices (FPNs) can be awarded by police if you have broken lockdown rules.

In England, fines start at £200, though with cases such as ones involving large parties the police can issue fines of up to £10,000 to the organiser.

The most common area for fines to be handed out was at the University of Hertfordshire, with 12 FPNs being issued.

The next highest locations were not too far away with Tiger Moth Way having six FPNs issued and Cunningham Avenue had five FPNs.

A spokesperson from the University of Hertfordshire said: “The safety of our community is our absolute priority, and we expect our students to follow the national guidance and keep our community safe.

"The vast majority of our students are following the guidance, but there has been a small number of incidents where this has not been the case. We will continue to work closely with the police and take appropriate action against any student found to have blatantly breached COVID-19 rules.”

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Welwyn Hatfield also saw a significantly higher number of warnings issued without fines than Stevenage and St Albans.

There were 228 warnings issued for COVID-19 rule violations in Welwyn Hatfield, more Stevenage and St Albans combined, who had 88 and 67 respectively.

Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector Simon Mason said: “Our officers have been working tirelessly to help keep people safe during this pandemic. This has involved regular patrols in ‘hotspot’ areas including the town centres and the university as these are traditionally busy parts of Welwyn Hatfield with a high footfall.

"Sadly, there has been a small number of incidents where local residents, including students, have hosted large gatherings and consequently a high number of fines and warnings were given out.

"I would like to stress that the vast majority of students and residents of Welwyn Hatfield are complying with the new legislation and officers remain working closely with local partners such as the University of Hertfordshire and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council in relation to those who are not respecting the rules.

"This includes working together to enforce against those who breach the rules, as well as working to prevent breaches from happening in the first place.”

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