Just one person has been fined by police for breaching quarantine rules after arriving from abroad, new figures from police forces in England and Wales show.
Chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said compliance with the rules had been good, but added “it’s really difficult to understand how people will respond” after Spain was removed from the UK’s list of safe destinations over a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.
“You would hope that people would come back and be responsible,” Martin Hewitt said.
“I would hope they would be, but we will be in a position to carry out the role that we have in this, which is a secondary role to both the border force and Public Health England, as we are required to do so.
“But I guess time will tell how that plays through.
“And of course, you know it’s not inconceivable that this could happen with other countries as we move forward, and I think the Government has made clear about that as well, so we will monitor that and work through the process.”
The data released by the NPCC on Monday comes after holidaymakers in Spain and its islands were told they would have to self-isolate for 14 days when returning to the UK.
It does not include fines issued by UK Border Force, which had issued three penalties by July 10, when quarantine rules for people returning to or visiting the UK from a list of countries were relaxed.
Mr Hewitt said enforcement of the regulations, breaches of which can be punished with fines of between £100 and £1,000, is primarily a matter for Border Force and public health officials.
The ticket for breaching quarantine rules, which was issued by Lincolnshire Police, was one of only eight fixed penalty notices handed out in England in the two weeks to July 20, with none in Wales.
Some six of the fines were handed to people who failed to wear face coverings on public transport, making a total of 32 under the regulations introduced on June 15.
Passengers caught not complying with the regulations can be fined £100 and removed from services.
The other fine in the latest two-week period was issued by Northamptonshire Police for a breach of rules around gatherings.
Figures are not yet available for breaches of regulations introduced on Friday making it compulsory for most people to wear face coverings in shops.
But Mr Hewitt said: “I certainly, in my trawl around how the weekend has gone, have heard of no instances around particular issues in shops. I’m not aware of any fines having been issued.”
A total of 18,669 fixed-penalty notices (FPNs), including 16,029 in England and 2,640 in Wales, have been recorded by forces up to July 20.
The NPCC said the figures do not include fines issued during the local Leicester lockdown.