“Not following the regulations and measures put in place to limit the spread of the virus is unacceptable. We won’t waste time with endless encouragement for those who knowingly or deliberately break the rules. People recklessly ignoring the regulations should expect to receive a fixed penalty notice,” Hewitt said in a statement.
According to the NPCC chief, the police will continue using its so-called 4Es approach — engaging, explaining the regulations, encouraging people to follow them and only enforcing as the last resort, — and officers will assess every situation and respond accordingly.
“As we always do, Chiefs will make operational decisions based on the circumstances in their area,” he added.
Fines for breaking lockdown rules in England currently start at £200 ($260) and can rise to £10,000 ($13,000) for repeat offenders.
The NPCC said last week that a total of 20,233 fines had been issued in England and Wales under the coronavirus regulations between March and October.
England entered a four-week strict lockdown from Thursday, in an attempt to tackle the current surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The new restrictions, which prime minister Boris Johnson has said are “less prohibitive” and “less restrictive” than the ones imposed in March, will include the closure of pubs, restaurants, except for takeaways and deliveries, gyms, entertainment venues and all non-essential shops.
Unlike the previous national lockdown, schools, colleges and universities will remain open, as well as workplaces for people who cannot work from home.