Police are to get tougher on lockdown rule-breakers as they ramp up enforcement and stop giving warnings.
Officers are to move more quickly to fine more people who flout coronavirus rules instead of trying to "encourage" them to abide by the regulations.
The move, agreed by police chiefs and backed by Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, will see a significant increase in fines amid the Government's growing frustration at people continuing to ignore the rules.
A senior policing source said: "It will mean essentially moving from four Es to three Es. Engage and educate by all means, but people have had six or months to understand what encouraging is. You skip that phase and go to enforce.
"What that should mean across the board is a relatively marked, short term rise in FPNs [fixed penalty notices] being given out."
A Government source said: "Police are operationally responsible, but they will move faster through the four Es. It's engage, explain and enforce. That's definitely something we would encourage. The solution is very much about the police getting stuck in. I am sure we will see an increase in enforcement from the police because it is serious. Cases are increasing and more people are dying."
A similar tactic has already been adopted by British Transport Police, who have more than doubled fines for passengers failing to wear face coverings to 81 in the past month with a further 3,842 ordered off the railway.
Martin Hewitt, the chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), said the tactic would be targeted at the "minority" still choosing to "flout the rules" and "consciously making decisions which put lives at risk", adding: "They should expect to have enforcement action taken against them."
There are, however, still tensions between the police and the Government over tackling city-centre curfew breaches by crowds continuing to drink and socialise in the streets after the pubs close at 10pm (see video below).
Senior police officers said on Monday that it would be difficult to issue fines to disperse such crowds when there might be only a handful of officers available who were not already dealing with 999 incidents or other serious crimes.
John Apter, the chairman of the Police Federation, said: "All we need is for a hostile group to turn on those police officers and resources for that city centre are swallowed dealing with that one incident."
Ministers are expected to announce an extra £60 million for police and councils to enforce the new coronavirus rules.