Peebles

Scotland, United Kingdom

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Coronavirus: Scottish pupils returning to schools
School pupils return to classes across Scotland for the first time since the country was locked down.

Pupils in the Borders and Shetland begin return to the classroom

Pupil going to school
Getty Images

Scotland's pupils will begin returning to their classrooms later for the first time since the start of the lockdown nearly five months ago.

Schools in the Borders and Shetland will be first to reopen with most local authorities following on Wednesday.

Physical distancing among students will not generally be required but hygiene and safety measures such as one-way systems have been put in place.

Most of the country's 700,000 pupils have not been at school since 20 March.

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School pupil return date confirmed in the Borders

Giancarlo Rinaldi

South Scotland reporter, BBC news website

Duns Primary
Scottish Borders Council

Scottish Borders Council has confirmed all pupils in its area will return to school on 11 August.

The local authority said it would follow an in-service day, as planned, on 10 August.

It said separate arrangements were in place for Jedburgh Grammar Campus - as was normal for any new school - with details being provided directly to parents.

Chief executive Tracey Logan said: "We have been working on these plans for some time now and can reassure parents, pupils and staff that everything will be in place to make all our early years settings and schools as safe as possible."

More information is available via the council website.

Police assaulted 265 times during first month of lockdown

Police on patrol
Getty Images

Police Scotland officers or staff were assaulted 265 times during the first month of lockdown.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives under freedom of information also revealed almost 89 of these crimes were Covid-19 related.

The figures were published under freedom of information and covered the period between 24 March and 30 April.

There can be no reason or excuse for attacking these officers who deserve nothing but our gratitude. The fact that 90 of these offences were Covid-related is particularly abhorrent. Those who have perpetrated these assaults must feel the force of the law.

Liam KerrScottish Conservatives justice spokesman

QC praises police use of emergency powers

Reevel Alderson

BBC Scotland Home Affairs correspondent

Police on patrol
Getty Images

The QC who has been monitoring the way Police Scotland has operated during the coronavirus pandemic has said the force has been doing a good job.

Speaking to a virtual meeting of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), John Scott said the force had resisted demands for greater enforcement of emergency regulations.

A report presented to the SPA board said that from 27 March until 17 June there were more than 53,000 interventions using emergency powers - an average of 640 a day.

Data showed 92.8% of these were the dispersal of people, with only 6.6% of incidents involving enforcement action.

It also revealed the issue of fixed penalty notices or arrests was higher in the early stage of lockdown.

Prof Susan McVie of Edinburgh University, who has carried out research for the review, told the SPA board: "I think this demonstrates a high level of discretion in terms of the police having been given quite draconian powers."

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Police fines for flouting lockdown measures plummet

Paul O'Hare

BBC Scotland News

Crowd on a beach
Getty Images

Police Scotland issued 35 fines last week to people who flouted the Covid-19 restrictions.

The figures, the second to be published since Scotland moved into phase one of lockdown easing, also revealed officers only made nine arrests.

The statistics show a 68% drop in the number of fixed penalty notices handed out, compared to 110 the previous week. This brings the total since the measures were introduced to 3,248.

Fines start at £30, doubling to £60 if they are not paid within 28 days. Repeat offenders can face penalties of up to £960.

The update, for week ending 10 June, confirms a dozen individuals were dispersed using "reasonable force" compared to 36 the previous week.

A total of 609 were "dispersed when instructed" while the number "dispersed when informed" was 2,449.

Hotel job concerns a further "hammer blow" to the Borders

Giancarlo Rinaldi

South Scotland reporter, BBC news website

Cardrona Hotel
Richard Webb

Job fears at a Borders hotel have been described as “another hammer blow” to the community by council leader Shona Haslam.

She was responding to news that up to 1,800 jobs are under threat at the Macdonald Hotel chain – which runs the Cardrona Hotel in the region.

It comes on the back of another announcement of potential redundancies at the nearby Peebles Hydro operated by the Crieff Hydro group.

Ms Haslam said the council would do everything in its power to support any staff affected.

FM insists testing resources are in place

Scottish Borders Council headquarters
Google

The Scottish Conservative leader says NHS Borders is now telling the Scottish government it doesn't have the capacity to carry out tests within its care homes.

Mr Carlaw says care home owners, for example in Castle Douglas, say none of their staff have been tested unlike those in England.

He says Scottish Borders Council say they only received 480 testing kits to cover all 1,200 staff in their care homes.

How will it be possible to test all these care home staff with only half the test they need, he asks.

The first minister insists care homes will have the resources they need, whether human resources or testing kits.

Ms Sturgeon says the resources are in place it is now a case of ensuring the job is done quickly and sustainably.

Police absence rate 'remarkably' lowest it has ever been

Holyrood Live

BBC Parliaments

Officer in PPE
Perth Picture Agency

The chief constable says while officers have been able to provide advice and enforce the law, Police Scotland has faced challenges in terms of staffing and PPE.

Mr Livingstone tells MSPs over 14,000 officers and staff now have access to PPE, with a dedicated team set up for sourcing and training on how to use it.

The absence rate is currently at 3.5%, Iain Livingstone confirms, which is "remarkably" the lowest it has ever been.

He says officers have been "very visible" in communities in recent months and the public has stepped forward to work with police services.

The chief constable also says the police officers remain concerned about those facing domestic or child abuse, adding: "Sadly for some people that stay at home guidance does expose them to greater risk of abuse, harm or neglect. We are aware unfortunately that virtual spaces are not also safe places for everyone.

"It remains a significant concern and priority going forward."

Fall in police lockdown fines but dispersal orders soar

Paul O'Hare

BBC Scotland News

Crowd at Luss
Getty Images

The number of fines issued by Police Scotland to people who flouted the Covid-19 restrictions plummeted by 56% last week.

The figures, the first to be published since Scotland moved into phase one of lockdown easing, also saw the weekly number of arrests fall from 30 to 11.

The statistics reveal 110 fixed penalty notices were handed out compared to 252 the previous week. This brings the total since the measures were introduced to 3,213.

Fines start at £30, doubling to £60 if they are not paid within 28 days. Repeat offenders can face penalties of up to £960.

But the update, for week ending 3 June, reveals the number of individuals dispersed using "reasonable force" doubled from 18 to 36.

Major increases were also recorded in the number "dispersed when instructed", which soared from 654 to 2,107, while the number "dispersed when informed" increased by 13% to 4,357.

Police powers: Lockdown measures protect 'right to life'

Good Morning Scotland

BBC Radio Scotland

sign
Getty Images

A senior lawyer, who has been asked by Police Scotland to monitor the impact of lockdown regulations, says it is important the powers are kept under constant review.

John Scott QC said the measures have been judged necessary because they protect the right to life, but should only be in place as long as necessary and used proportionately.

But he told Radio Scotland that it would be right for further restrictions to be introduced if there is a resurgence of Covid-19 infections.

The QC added that he thought "common sense" had been applied in the majority of cases, both by Police Scotland officers and members of the public.

Because the path of the disease is not necessarily only in one direction - it's not always just going to go downwards - then the restrictions may be reintroduced or additional restrictions might be introduced or introduced on a regional or geographic basis

John ScottQC

Volunteer constables donate over 25,000 hours since lockdown

Special Constables and police officers
Getty Images

Special Constables (SPCs) donated over 25,000 hours supporting Police Scotland in the two months after lockdown began.

The special constabulary is a part-time volunteer body consisting of officers with powers identical to those of police officers.

Following an appeal by Police Scotland in March, the number of hours SPCs were deployed for more than doubled, to 25,656, compared to the same period last year.

Assistant Chief Constable John Hawkins said: “While SPCs have always been considered a vital and valued feature of policing in Scotland, it is more important than ever that their role is recognised and I would like to sincerely thank them all once again for their efforts."