AN INDEPENDENT review of how Dorset Police issued fines to repeat offenders throughout the pandemic has found officers acted 'reasonably and proportionately'.

The work was carried out by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Dorset, which has been scrutinising how officers are using new powers to clamp down on people breaching Covid-19 restrictions.

The office's scrutiny manager and director of operations examined a randomly selected series of incidents - in which fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued to people who had received more than one notice.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill said: "The public have got a right to know whether the force are acting reasonably and proportionately, particularly when it comes to the small number of repeat offenders, and it's very reassuring to see the findings of this review.

"This is part of an ongoing process that my office has been carrying out to scrutinise the force’s use of new restrictions that has been taking place since shortly after lockdown started."

In all the cases, the OPCC found there were no concerns. Most of the FPNs had been issued after the force received calls from worried members of the public or as a result of routine patrols.

This follows work the OPCC carried out last year to scrutinise FPNs issued by the force for people breaching Covid-19 restrictions.

The OPCC had examined randomly selected sample of cases in which FPNs were issued during the early weeks of the first lockdown. It was fed back that they were reassured by the quality of officers’ decision making.

Chief constable James Vaughan said: "Asking people to stay at home and carrying out enforcement activity against those who break the rules is something no one in policing ever thought they would have to do. It has also attracted scrutiny over the last year from both the media and some members of the public.

“I'm delighted for all the challenges Covid-19 has presented, this latest review highlights our officers and police staff are getting it right and continue to enforce the restrictions reasonably and proportionately."

More scrutiny of the force’s use of FPNs will now be carried out when the panel sits later this month.