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Civil liberties groups and human rights lawyers are demanding an urgent review of all coronavirus police fines issued under emergency powers amid accusations of “double standards” following the controversy surrounding Dominic Cummings.
Boris Johnson’s special adviser drove his wife and child 260 miles from London to Durham during lockdown after his wife developed Covid-19 symptoms and also made a 30 mile trip to Barnard Castle – but insisted he had done nothing wrong.
Durham Police later said Cummings “might have broken lockdown rules” but that it would have been a “minor breach” and they wouldn’t be taking any further action.
However, campaigners are angered by the move and say those who feel they were wrongfully fined will feel there is one rule for those in powerful positions and another for ordinary people.
One man who was given a fine by police for visiting a beach with his family told HuffPost UK how he is unrepentant as he feels he did nothing wrong. He has vowed not to pay the £60, saying he believes police are “abusing their powers” and that “it is one rule for high up people and another for the little people on the street.”
Around 15,000 fixed penalty notices have been issued by police in England and Wales for alleged breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules since the regulations came into force at the end of March.
There are separate rules for managing coronavirus in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In England, the new lockdown rules from May 13 increased fines in England, meaning individuals can be fined on the spot up to £100 for a first offence, rising to £3,200 for repeat offences.
However, rights groups and lawyers are calling for a review of all fines amid concerns that “a significant number of fixed penalty notices have been wrongly issued”.
They are also arguing that the outcry surrounding Dominic...