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Priti Patel Announces £6,400 House Party Fine In Crackdown On People Breaking Lockdown

3 min read

The government will introduce tougher new penalties for attending parties during lockdown with fines of up to £6,400 for persistent offenders.

Home secretary Priti Patel unveiled the new fixed penalty notices and said “such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant threat to public health”.

She said while most people are following the strict rules which forbid household mixing, there needed to be a stronger deterrent for those who continue to break them.

From next week there will be a new £800 fine for attending a house party, which will double for each repeat offence to a maximum level of £6,400. 

"These fines will apply to those who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in homes," Patel said at a Downing Street press conference. 

"The science is clear: such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant threat to public health. 

“Not only to those in attendance but to our wonderful police officers who attend these events to shut them down.”

Speaking alongside her was Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, who said there has been a big increase in illegal gatherings broken up by officers.

He highlighted an incident in Brick Lane in London last week where more than 40 people were found “cramped” indoors at an event, and dealing with it saw three officers injured and one needing hospital treatment.

Mr Hewitt welcomed the new fines and said those who have broken the rules are endangering other people's lives, adding officers “will not waste time reasoning with them”.

Mr Hewitt said: "I hope that the likelihood of an increased fine acts as a disincentive for those people who are thinking of attending or organising such events."

He added: "When we see people that are putting themselves and others in danger, we will not waste time trying to reason with them.

"They are demonstrating no regard for the safety of others, or even for themselves.”

The National Police Chiefs' Council chairman said official figures will be released next week showing how many fines have been given out to individuals since the start of this latest national lockdown.

But he told the briefing: "Forces are telling us there has been a significant increase, and that's reflecting the fact that we've had more officers out on dedicated patrols taking targeted action against those small few who are letting everybody down."

There have been 250 fixed penalty notices issued to the organisers of large gatherings between last August when regulations on gatherings were introduced and 17 January this year.

Also appearing at the Downing Street press conference was NHS England regional medical director for London Dr Vin Diwakar, who compared breaking the rules to turning on a light in the middle of a blackout during the Blitz.

"This is the biggest health emergency to face this country since the Second World War,” he said.

"For me and my colleagues in the NHS breaking the rules in the way that's been described today is like switching on a light in the middle of the blackout in the Blitz.

"It doesn't just put you at risk in your house, it puts your whole street and the whole of your community at risk."

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