People from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in Wiltshire were more than twice as likely to be fined for breaching Covid-19 lockdown rules than white people, new figures suggest.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council says it is concerned by “disproportionality” in the issuing of fixed-penalty notices by forces in England and Wales, but added the picture is complex with wide variation across the two countries.

Figures published by the NPCC show Wiltshire Police handed out 183 fines between March 27 and May 25.

Of those, 150 were to white people and 24 to those of black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds.

Analysis carried out by government statisticians for the NPCC suggests that people from BAME backgrounds were fined at a rate of 4.7 in every 10,000 people, compared to 2.3 in every 10,000 white people.

That means fines for BAME people were 2.1 times higher than for white people.

NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said: “While it is a complex picture, it is a concern to see disparity between white and black, Asian or ethnic minority people. Each force will look at this carefully to assess and mitigate any risks of bias – conscious or unconscious – and to minimise disproportionate impact wherever possible.

“Many forces have brought in community representatives to help scrutinise the circumstances around each FPN and if it's been issued fairly.”