Big Brother Watch Team / November 20, 2020

Big Brother Watch and Liberty have written to police forces urging them to undertake a review of all fines issued under the lockdown laws, amid serious concerns of wrongfully issued fines and racial discrimination.

Across England and Wales, people of colour have received fines at a rate 1.6 times higher than white people. This is unacceptable. In certain areas, however, this disparity is far higher. We have sent letters to the chief constables of Cumbria, Derbyshire, Dyfed-Powys, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, North Wales, North Yorkshire, Suffolk, Sussex and West Mercia police forces, the ten worst for discrimination, warning them that they may risk breaching equality law if they do not instigate an urgent review of fines.

The Government’s response to this pandemic has been to penalise the public with vast fines and ever-increasing enforcement powers, despite widespread compliance and great hardship for many. It is a gross injustice that this authoritarian approach has been inflicted most harshly on people of colour.

As the country faces another potential stretch of lockdowns over winter, its more vital then ever that police forces take this step to remedy injustice and arbitrary policing.

You can read the letters below:

Media coverage

Shropshire Star — West Mercia and Dyfed-Powys police forces under fire over ‘discriminatory’ coronavirus fines

Brighton & Hove News — Campaign groups urge Sussex Police to review coronavirus fines

Birmingham Live — Concern over coronavirus fines issued to Brummies by police in Wales over breaking lockdown

Evening Express Campaigners call for review of coronavirus fines

Nation Cymru — Human rights groups claim Dyfed-Powys Police issued too many coronavirus fines to people of colour

South Wales Guardian — Concerns over coronavirus lockdown fines issued by Dyfed-Powys police

Western Telegraph — Coronavirus: Police fines criticised across Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire

The Mail — Campaign groups Liberty and Big Brother Watch claim police forces including Cumbria Police have been ‘discriminatory’ in issuing of coronavirus fines