Thousands of people are being hit with fines for breaches of coronavirus lockdown regulations that are "unclear and ambiguous," a parliamentary committee has warned
The Joint Committee on Human Rights said it was "unacceptable" that "many thousands" were receiving fixed penalty notices (FPNs) despite evidence the police did not fully understand their powers and with no means of redress.
It said the way the regulations were being enforced by the police was having a "disproportionate impact" on young men from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Although FPNs could result in fines in excess of £10,000 there is currently no realistic way for people to challenge them.
Christian MP, Fiona Bruce is on the committee. She told Premier that 17,000 people have received an FPN so far and research shows that many of them have been "wrong imposed". The representative for Congleton said the Government has a lot to clear up.
"Firstly, we're saying that the regulations need to contain really clear and unambiguous language so that people really do know when they are and when they're not in breach of them.
"Secondly, we need to be absolutely sure that the police understand their powers. We say in our report, for example, that the police were stopping people and accusing them of breaching the regulations because they were making what were called unnecessary journeys in the cars, when in fact, that was not a breach of the regulations. So it's really important that the police fully understand their powers."
Bruce added that there should be a Government review of how the regulations are being applied and there should be a fair way to challenge the FPNs without having to get a court involved.
A Government spokesperson said they had worked closely with the police throughout the pandemic, and officers had enforced regulations only as a last resort.
They added: "Both Houses (of Parliament) have opportunities to scrutinise and debate all regulations, which must be approved by both Houses within 28 days to remain in force. This is the same way all lockdown regulations have been made and none have been voted down."
Additional reporting from Press Association
Listen to Premier's interview with Fiona Bruce here: