BAME people fined more under UK coronavirus laws

BAME people receive more coronavirus fines in England than white population
2 min read
27 May, 2020
BAME people in England received 22 percent of the coronavirus lockdown fines despite making up only 15.5 percent of the population.
People in England ignore the UK Government's advice to obey social distancing guidelines [LightRocket/Getty]
Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in England are more than twice as likely to receive fines for breaching the United Kingdom's coronavirus lockdown regulations than the white population.

BAME people in England received 22 percent of the coronavirus lockdown fines despite being only 15.5 percent of the population, an investigation by The Guardian and Liberty Investigates revealed.

A review of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) data, released every fortnight with racial breakdowns, showed that BAME people received 2,218 of the 13,445 fines issued under distancing regulations in March, while white people were given about 7,865.

This makes the BAME population in England 54 percent more likely to receive a fine than their white counterparts, The Guardian reported.

The paper's analysis concluded that BAME people were fined at a rate of 26 per 100,000 whereas the rate for the white population was 16.8 per 100,000.

The NPCC said in April that the "ethnic distribution of penalty notices was proportionate", the paper reported.

"For years there has been extensive evidence that police powers are used to disproportionately and unfairly to target black and Asian communities, so it comes as little surprise that these figures indicate racial profiling has continued and even accelerated under the lockdown," Kevin Blowe, the coordinator of the Network for Police Monitoring, told The Guardian.

The findings come amid public outcry over the government's handling of the Dominic Cummings scandal.

There have been calls for Johnson's advisor to resign after it emerged that he drove his wife and young son on a 264-mile (425-kilometre) trip from London to Durham, northeast England, in late March during the height of the coronavirus crisis.

Cummings later admitted taking a 60-mile round trip to a local beauty spot, to test his eyesight.

Prime Minister Johnson announced an increase in fines for those who breached the coronavirus regulations in early May -  from £60 to £100 for first offenders.

Read more: Boris Johnson's police state won't solve the coronavirus crisis

The maximum fine for repeat offenders was raised from £960 to £3,200.

The UK is one of the worst-hit countries by the pandemic, with more than 46,000 deaths attributed to Covid-19 by mid-May, according to official statistics released Tuesday. 

Johnson's government, whose less comprehensive tally is updated daily, has counted 37,048 fatalities.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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