Police have issued more than 18,000 fines for breaches of government public health regulations in England and Wales since the coronavirus lockdown started.
The majority of fines have been issued to males in the 18-34 age group, with fixed penalty notices more likely to be given at weekends.
Provisional data released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council show a total of 18,439 fixed penalty notices have been recorded up until June 22.
Of these, 15,856 FPNs were recorded in England and 2,583 in Wales from March 27 to June 22.
North Yorkshire had the highest number of fines at 1,112 while the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Police handed out 35.
Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) officers do not patrol the streets, but protect sites of national importance.
Police said the number of fines issued has been reducing as lockdown measures are being eased.
About 700 people have been given more than one fine in England, for further breaches of restrictions.
The fines carried penalties of £60, reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks but doubling for each repeat offence up to a £960 maximum.
Since measures were first eased on May 13, a total of 1,691 FPNs have been issued.
From May 13, higher £100 fines were enforced in England, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days and rising to a maximum of £3,200 for further offences.
From June 1, it has been lawful for groups of up to six people to meet outdoors in England – as long as social distancing measures are maintained.
From 1 June to 22 June, a total of 358 FPNs were issued.
In England, fines have been issued for reasons such as driving with non-household members, house parties, large gatherings of people from different households and camping.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Martin Hewitt said: “Since lockdown restrictions began to ease the number of fines issued has seen a sustained fall across the country.
“Our approach of engaging with the public, explaining the regulations in place and encouraging them to do the right thing will continue.
“Officers have used their common sense and discretion to take in to account people’s individual circumstances. We will only enforce as a last resort, against those who are in clear breach of the regulations.
“Behind each fine is a case where someone has failed to listen and do the right thing.
“As restrictions ease further from the 4 July in England, it is important for everyone to take more personal responsibility for their safety by continuing to follow official advice and government regulations. Limiting the spread of the virus should still be everyone’s priority.
“I would like to again thank the vast majority of people for abiding by the lockdown measures and government advice.”
The provisional figures were released ahead of bars and restaurants reopening on July 4, following schools and other non-essential shops which were unlocked earlier this month.
National chair of the Police Federation John Apter warned the Government’s announcement about easing lockdown on July 4 could be “a countdown to party time.”
He said: “This leads to issues that the police will have to deal with.
“Firstly, of course, there are worries about alcohol consumption leading to drunken and irresponsible behaviour, and there’s also the concern that people who can’t get into pubs because of restrictions that are still in place may cause conflict.
“This will, without doubt, add more pressure on policing, paramedics and the wider NHS.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is said to be considering “all options”, including new restrictions in the event of a spike in infections, reports the Sunday Times.
Meanwhile Boris Johnson is set to use the inspiration of the national coronavirus response to fast track major building projects across the country in an attempt to kickstart the UK economy.