THE number of lockdown fines handed out by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) did not increase over the course of two weeks in June.

Figures published by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) revealed GMP handed out 303 fixed penalty notices (FPN) up to June 22 for breaking lockdown regulations.

The statistic is the same as the amount of FPNs that were given to people by the force up to June 8. Data shows 189 fines were handed out in England from June 9 to June 22.

GMP says a change in Government advice over coronavirus and the amount of reports police have received have contributed to the absence of FPNs being issued by officers.

Assistant Chief Constable for GMP, Chris Sykes, said: “On Friday, June 26 the NPCC released updated figures on the amount of FPNs issued by every force for instances where there has been a breach of COVID-19 legislation.

“GMP’s figures remain unchanged at 303 FPN’s issued to date – reflecting a number of developments in the past two weeks that encompass the changes in Government guidance, the quantity of reports we’ve received and the continuing emphasis on personal responsibility for maintaining social distancing.

“I’d firstly like to thank the public for their understanding.

"In the overwhelming majority of incidents we’ve responded to since the start of the pandemic, members of the public have engaged with officers while they have explained the importance of following Government guidance.

"This has precluded the need to issue costly fines – which with today’s uncertainty over employment and the economy is the very last thing we want to enforce upon hard working people in Greater Manchester.

“As the Government announced the easing of lockdown measures from Monday, June 1, the number of fines issued has seen a sustained fall across the country.

"Our policing approach is still to engage, explain, encourage and only enforce as a last resort - and only then after taking into consideration the fundamental principle of proportionality."

Assistant Chief Constable Sykes is hoping police and residents will carry on working alongside each other as lockdown restrictions are lifted further.

He added: “As restrictions ease further from Saturday, July 4 in England the situation will remain challenging for both our hard working officers and staff who put themselves at risk every day, and the public who have been asked to make incredible sacrifices throughout lockdown.

“If the community and the police continue to work together, then Greater Manchester will come through this, and will be stronger as a result.”