Today, (27/7) the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) has issued a report assessing the disproportionality across ethnic groups associated with the issuing of a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).
FPNs are issued to individuals found to be in breach of enforcement of the new public health regulations to control the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19). The NPCC’s report can be downloaded here.
The Police Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan, commissioned a detailed analysis of the fines issued by North Yorkshire Police. In response to the OPFCC’s report which has also been issued today, North Yorkshire Deputy Chief Constable Phil Cain says:
“We welcome the report that the Office of the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (OPFCC) has produced following the review of the Fixed Penalty Notices (PFNs) issued by North Yorkshire Police between 2 April and 11 May.
“The country and the people of North Yorkshire are going through an experience that is unknown in our lifetime. This has required policing to adapt and respond, often at very short notice, to new legislation and developing government guidance. I believe that our officers have risen to the challenge and effectively applied the ‘four E’s’ approach – to initially Engage, Educate, Encourage and only as a last resort to Enforce – as set out by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC).
“Since the Coronavirus legislation came into place, our priority has been to protect the residents of North Yorkshire and stop the spread of the virus. The initial government guidance was to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. The public of North Yorkshire have expected, and welcomed, our use of this new policing power.
“North Yorkshire Police has issued more FPNs in line with the Covid-19 legislation than any other force in England & Wales. At a very early stage we identified that there was a disproportionate number of FPNs being issued to people of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic heritage and invited the OPFCC to provide independent scrutiny of our process.
“When analysed, it was found that around 57% of the Fixed Penalty Notices were issued to visitors to North Yorkshire. In the Craven District the proportion was substantially higher with 95% of the FPNs being issued to visitors.
“I am pleased that, following a detailed review, the OPFCC found no evidence of discrimination, and that the FPNs issued by our officers were issued fairly and appropriately. The review found that the FPNs issued to local people are proportionate to our local demographics. However, it remains a cause for concern that there is disproportionality in the number of FPNs issued to BAME visitors to our force area.
“North Yorkshire Police shares the commitment of our Police Fire and Crime Commissioner to do everything within our power to root out discrimination of any kind, and I am committed to doing so. We will continue to challenge ourselves and are actively working to identify and to address any discrimination in our training, briefings or operational approach. We welcome the ongoing scrutiny of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and advice of our Independent Advisory Groups to help us maintain the progress that we have made to date.
“The actions of our officers and how they have applied their powers under the Covid-19 legislation have been under immense internal scrutiny. We have policed the restrictions that the government has put in place and we will continue to do so without favour or discrimination to any sector of our community.”