More than 40 fines were issued to people for flouting Covid-19 restrictions between 31 December and 3 January, Kent Police said.
Officers closed down house parties and fined people who were breaching self-isolation rules.Copyright: Getty Images
A £1,000 fine was handed out to a man in Chatham who failed to isolate after testing positive for Covid-19.
And police said they responded to a New Year’s Eve party in Oaten Hill, Canterbury, where a group of teenagers gathered. They also issued a £200 fixed penalty notice to a man.
In addition, four separate incidents resulted in 15 fines being issued to people in Gillingham, Chatham and Rochester.
Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix, of Kent Police, said: “We were able to disperse people and remind them of their personal responsibility to do the right thing and follow the law.
“However, on the occasions where people showed a blatant disregard for the regulations, putting others in danger by hosting gatherings or meeting others whilst infected with the virus, officers were left with no other option but to issue fines.”
Local Democracy ReporterCopyright: Getty Images
More powers should be given to police and crime commissioners (PCC), says Kent PCC Matthew Scott as he presses the Government for major reform.
Matthew Scott has lobbied Boris Johnson’s administration for greater authority within the criminal justice system.
This comes alongside a review being undertaken by the Home Office on what the role of police commissioners should look like after Covid-19.
Mr Scott, who has served as Kent’s police and crime commissioner for the last four years, said: “Much to the disappointment of many, rumours of our demise are greatly exaggerated.
“We will be carrying on and the Home Office wants to give us more responsibilities.”
However, the county’s police chief said any new powers would not impact on the “independence” and “integrity” of the judiciary, which includes the crown prosecution service (CPS) and courts.
A police and crime commissioner is an elected official whose role largely is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account. There are more than 40 in the UK.
Local Democracy Reporter
A police official says lessons must be learned from a summer beach party which saw hundreds of people descend on a stretch of Kent coast.
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said the large event at Greatstone near New Romney was “very challenging” for the county force to deal with four weeks ago.
Four police officers were injured, including one being hit by a car, while rubbish was strewn across the beach and nearby streets.Copyright: BBC
New coronavirus laws introduced last month mean anyone found to have organised or facilitated a gathering of more than 30 people could be liable to a £10,000 fine.
Earlier today, Mr Scott told a panel of councillors: “There is learning for both Kent Police and other organisations.”
Councillor Jenny Hollingsbee (Con), who is the deputy leader of Folkestone and Hythe District Council, said it took “some time” for the county force to disperse the party despite early warnings.
She told the Kent and Medway Police Crime Panel: “It appears that sometimes the police officers, if they come from out of the area, do not understand if there is a public space protection order in place that can be used.
“It’s quite a powerful piece of legislation that can be used.”
Since then, patrols have been taking place in the area more regularly and a helicopter was deployed to deal with another incident in New Romney over the August bank holiday.
Several coaches were spotted pulling up outside The Jolly Fisherman in Coach Drive and offloading passengers on 30 August. Witnesses estimated there to be around 100 visitors.
Members of the public who attend future events risk a £100 fine, which can double for each incident up to a total of £3,200.
Two men were taken to hospital after being stabbed in Maidstone.
The pair, aged in their 30s and 40s, were injured at about 20:40 BST on Thursday in Tonbridge Road, Kent Police said.
The men were taken to hospital for treatment and later discharged.
A police spokesman said investigators were trying to establish what led up to the incident, and they appealed for information.
Police chiefs in Kent have urged people not to organise or attend unlicensed music events after more than 100 people were dispersed from two gatherings in the county at the weekend.
Senior Kent Police officers said the risk of passing on Covid-19 still remained a “real concern” as they warned staging such events places a “significant” strain on police resources.Copyright: BBC
The comments came after police were called to woodland in Canterbury on Saturday where around 25 people were dispersed and sound equipment was seized.
Then later the same evening officers attended a second event, at a property in Barming, where 100 people were sent home.
Kent Police assistant chief constable Nicola Faulconbridge said: “These unlicensed events are not only illegal but put people at risk and have a significant impact on police resources.
"The risk of passing on Covid-19 is still a real concern and I would ask people not to organise or attend gatherings of this nature.
“Those who continue to ignore our requests and hold events with a blatant disregard for the health and well-being of others will have action taken against them and we will not hesitate in seizing equipment and making arrests when appropriate.”