Article originally published on NETPOL website – accessible here

POLICING

Big Brother Watch has written a letter (PDF) to the National Police Chiefs Council to make the case for an urgent review of all 14,000 police fines issued under coronavirus emergency powers. Other signatories include Netpol, Kirsty Brimelow QC, Jules Carey from Bindmans, INQUEST, StopWatch, Fair Trials, Liberty and the Police Action Lawyers Group.

Meanwhile, Netpol has sent its letter to the National Police Chiefs Council, signed by 654 signatories and calling for the police to stop – before the lockdown ends – the labelling of political campaigners as “domestic extremist”. Government departments have already said they no longer use this categorisation.

Dyfed Powys Police’s chief constable wants the Welsh government to bring in even tougher lockdown deterrents including higher fines for a first offence. North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones has condemned the increase in fines in Wales for people flouting coronavirus travel restrictions, announced by First Minister Mark Drakeford on Wednesday, as a “timid fudge”.

Most of the people wrongly charged under the Coronavirus Act were probably not legally represented, the director of public prosecutions Max Hill QC has said.

The Home Secretary is expected to outline plans for the police to enforce spot checks at peoples’ homes when returning from abroad, with £1,000 fines for failing to quarantine for 14 days.

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