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COVID-19: Police to stop issuing £10,000 ‘super fines’ over concerns they can be challenged in court

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The National Police Chiefs’ Council is recommending officers issue a court summons rather than a straight fixed penalty notice.

Police forces are to stop issuing COVID-19 “super fines” in England and Wales over concerns the £10,000 fixed penalty can be challenged in court.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) is issuing guidance to chief constables, recommending their officers issue a court summons rather than a straight fixed penalty notice.

One of England’s most senior police and crime commissioners has said he is “thoroughly embarrassed” by the confusion surrounding one of the government’s key powers to stop mass gatherings during the coronavirus emergency.

West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson has now written to policing minister Kit Malthouse, demanding clarification over the fines.

The fixed penalty notices were introduced in September, allowing police to heavily fine the organisers of raves and other mass gatherings.

The NPCC said they had “advised all forces to temporarily take enforcement steps by way of a summons, rather than issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice to the value of £10,000”.

“We gave this advice because of a potential disparity between those who opt to pay the FPN and those who see their case reach court where the FPN would be means tested against personal income.”

The NPCC spokesperson said they were now urgently working with the government to rectify the situation.

Sky News understands a possible solution could involve officers informing those they issue with a fixed penalty that they have the right to opt for a court process instead.