● Devon and Cornwall account for more than a fifth of broken lockdown laws
● Leicestershire ranked third for the highest number of lockdown offences and now the City of Leicester is back in local lockdown
New Freedom of Information requests submitted by The University of Law (ULaw) have revealed that Devon and Cornwall account for more than a fifth of broken lockdown laws.
Between the 23rd March 2020 and 30th June 2020, the UK was put in strict lockdown by the government in a bid to stop the spread of Coronavirus. Despite this, the research shows that public authorities around the UK dealt with 4,490 offences¹ relating to breaking lockdown rules, with offences set to increase if a second lockdown is imposed.
During the same timeframe, public authorities dealt with a total of 68,747 general crimes, including penalty notices, arrests, warnings, cautions and charges.
With brand new government guidelines now in place, in response to the spiking Coronavirus cases, and further lockdowns looming, the new findings highlight the public authorities with the highest number of previous lockdown lawbreakers are:
1. Devon and Cornwall (956)
2. Derbyshire (570)
3. Leicestershire (479)
4. Northamptonshire (436)
5. West Midlands (376)
Devon and Cornwall had the highest number of offences between 23rd March and 30th June 2020, accounting for more than a fifth (21%) of all lockdown offences recorded in the UK. The number of new cases correlates with these findings for this region, where new cases more than doubled the week ending September 17th, a rise of 246% compared to the previous week².
Interestingly, Leicestershire ranked third for the highest number of lockdown offences and now the City of Leicester is back in local lockdown as of August 2020, with restrictions set to be reviewed on 25th September.
Northampton has also had a breakout of COVID-19 at the end of August³ in association with Greencore food production sites, meaning employees are in quarantine until further notice.
Conversely, Cambridgeshire had the least amount of lockdown lawbreakers, with only four offences, including warnings and charges. Cambridgeshire also had the lowest general crime rate of all authorities, with a total of 546, meaning less than 1% of crimes were COVD-19 related.
However, looking at the research in more detail, the region with the highest percentage of crimes being committed during lockdown was the City of London, with over 46% of all crimes committed during this time being COVID-19 related.
Summarising the findings, Jennifer Schmidt-Petersen, Programme and Student Lead for Policing Programmes at ULaw adds, “In September, we’ve seen many people return to work and children return to school with a heightened appreciation for our emergency services.
“While public authorities were already under immense pressure during lockdown earlier in the year, it is shocking to see this research highlighting the huge number of those defying lockdown rules set by the Government, which were there to protect us. During this same timeframe, public authorities around the UK also dealt with a total of 68,747 general crimes, further putting pressure on their resources.
“Lockdown was hard for many people and the laws were put in place in order to slow the spread of the virus, as is shown with Leicestershire, not abiding by these lockdown rules may result in us being placed under tighter restrictions once again right across the UK.
“Getting caught in breach of the lockdown restrictions can put you at risk of ending up with a criminal record, which will have a serious long-term impact on your life. With new restrictions now coming into play, we’d encourage the public to take note and make sure they are fully informed when it comes to the powers of the police and their local authorities. ”