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More than 1,000 people who should have been self-isolating after entering the UK from abroad could not be traced by the police, new figures show.
Data released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) on Wednesday revealed that up to October 19, 4,518 cases investigated by the police found the person abiding by international travel quarantine rules.
Another 284 were in breach but they were persuaded to obey the rules without being fined, and 125 were fined for failing to self-isolate.
However, 380 people had given the wrong address so they could not be found and no police action could be taken, while another 629 were out when officers attended and so also faced no further police action.
The NPCC said these cases are referred back to UK Border Force.
NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said: “In those cases where we can’t find an answer, that is then passed back through ultimately back to Border Force and is their process to manage.
“It is not the police role to go searching for those people.
“As things stand, policing is now back to demand levels, in terms of demand for service and crime, as we were this time last year, give or take a few percentages.
“So we have to be very clear that we deal with those issues, and then we are very clear that we are supporting Covid regulations and the work against the virus, but we need to do that in a proportionate way.
“I don’t think it’s our responsibility to go looking for people in those circumstances.”
The latest figures from the NPCC show that crime levels have returned near to those pre-pandemic – they were 6% lower in the four weeks to September 27 than in the same period last year – while forces are also dealing with enforcing coronavirus restrictions.
Watch: What are the fines for breaching self-isolation? Find out here