PEOPLE from black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds in Hampshire were almost three times as likely to be handed fines for breaches of Covid-19 lockdown rules than white people, new figures show.

A National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) report published on Monday concluded there has been “disproportionality” in the issuing of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) by forces across England and Wales.

The analysis shows people from BAME backgrounds were handed fines in Hampshire at a rate of 2.6 times higher than white people between March 27 and May 25, with black people 7.8 times more likely to be handed tickets.

This figure concerned Hampshire Constabulary, who said they would look into the reason behind this.

“Of the relatively small group who were issued with an FPN, men, and particularly young black men, are overrepresented and this concerns us," a Hampshire police spokesman said.

"We are committed to understanding disproportionality wherever it arises and we are working with our local districts to consider how we use this information to inform our policing practice, in relation to addressing inequalities, ensuring fairness to those who are the subject to police powers.

“Policing in our country is built on the principle of doing so by consent, and although much has changed in the way we operate over the years and will continue to do so, we will continue to work hard to build upon public trust and support.

"This is something we are committed to continuing and we welcome all feedback on how we can achieve this and continue to improve. As part of this, we welcome anyone who wishes to join our Independent Advisory Group, to help us continue to build partnerships with our communities.”

Across the county, a total of 239 FPNs were handed out over the period, with white people receiving 193 fines, BAME people receiving 41 fines - of which 18 were black - and five being classed as unknown. The number of fines issued to BAME groups made up 14 per cent of the total, despite the BAME population in Hampshire making up only seven per cent.

The average disparity across England and Wales between white people and BAME showed BAME people were 1.6 times as likely to be fined.

“The number of FPNs issued overall in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight was very low reflecting our approach of enforcing only as last resort," the police spokesman added.

"This data presents only a partial picture as it does not show the hundreds of thousands of interactions with the public where engagement and encouragement was effective and there was no need to issue a fine.

“Nationally, three fines were issued for every 10,000 residents in England and Wales. In comparison, Hampshire’s rate is one fine issued for every 10,000, placing us lower than the national average for enforcements."