Fourteen people under the age of 17 were arrested on suspicion of breaking lockdown rules during the pandemic, it has been revealed.

The figure came to light in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Advocate Ian Kermode asked for police figures from March 1, 2020, to April 1 2022.

They showed that 216 people were arrested on suspicion of a breach of Covid restrictions.

Of these 216 arrests, 14 were ‘juveniles’ that is persons under the age of 17 at the time of arrest.

Some of the juveniles were arrested more than once.

The figures do not reveal how many were charged or convicted.

During the pandemic, the government’s approach to coronavirus for the most part was elimination.

This meant closed borders, a two-week isolation when travelling to the island and on three occasions circuit-breakers or lockdowns.

Mr Kermode criticised the island’s government and police over the stricter regulations and enforcement throughout the pandemic in the island in comparison to other parts of the British Isles.

One of the arrests criticised as heavy-handed by some was that of a 36-year-old woman who was jailed for four weeks after stopping to buy petrol at a filling station in Laxey as she was making her way off the ferry to isolate.

Mr Kermode said: ‘In glaring contrast, all breaches of Covid regulations in the UK such as prohibition on movement and gatherings were punishable only by a Fixed Penalty Notice (“on the spot fine”).’

Former health minister David Ashford this week told the Manx Independent: ‘We took a firm approach in order to minimise deaths and spread of the virus. The overwhelming majority of the population recognised the need for swift action and abided by the rules and showed amazing community spirit.

‘As a result we had much fewer deaths than the UK and many other countries and prevented widespread outbreaks in the vulnerable population which could have been catastrophic. It also ensured our health service could cope and we did not see many of the issues seen by the UK NHS.’

Mr Kermode described the period of the pandemic as a ‘dark chapter in the history of Manx policing and a most sinister episode of interference with respect for fundamental human rights’.

In the Chief Constable’s annual report, it states: ‘The constabulary’s overall strategy did not change throughout the pandemic. Our primary objective was to work with others to mitigate the threats posed by Covid-19 in a way that protected the health service, safeguarded the public and ensured that our own people remained well.’

Chief Constable Gary Roberts said: ‘Our approach attracted considerable public interest and, while some people may have disagreed with some of the things that we did, I believe that we enhanced our reputation and consolidated the public support that we have long enjoyed.’

Mr Ashford said: ‘ We were one of the first places in the world to come out of lockdown, end social distancing and spent most of 2020 and early 2021, albeit with borders closed to none residents, living our daily lives normally, whereas the majority of the rest of the world continued with lengthy lockdowns and restrictions including social distancing long into 2021.’