Scotland

Police issue 144 fines during virus lockdown

Police van in Glasgow's Buchanan Street Image copyright Getty Images

A total of 144 fixed penalties have been issued to people breaking new coronavirus restrictions in Scotland in the last week, according to Police Scotland.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland an "overwhelming majority" of people were complying with social distancing rules.

But in one case six fines were issued after a house party in Aberdeen.

And in Paisley three men were fined for being in a van together on Saturday.

Police said they had no reasonable excuse to be together and they told officers they had no intention of complying with regulations.

The Aberdeen house party happened on Saturday and the occupants refused to desist.

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

Earlier this week Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said 25 people were fined during the first weekend of restrictions.

Under the restrictions, everybody must stay at home and only leave if they have a "reasonable excuse".

Where were the fixed penalty notices issued?

  • North East (20)
  • Forth Valley (6)
  • Tayside (1)
  • Edinburgh (4)
  • Greater Glasgow (46)
  • The Lothians & Scottish Borders (9)
  • Renfrewshire & Inverclyde (8)
  • Argyll & West Dunbartonshire (9)
  • Highland & Islands (1)
  • Fife (4)
  • Lanarkshire (17)
  • Ayrshire (18)
  • Dumfries & Galloway (1)
Image caption Chief Constable Iain Livingstone says most people are complying

Enforcement is 'last resort'

Mr Livingstone said officers have had to use their new powers to enforce the restrictions "very infrequently".

"The level of cooperation and support from the public in terms of social distancing has been vast, overwhelming," he said. "Everybody is stepping up and doing their duty."

The chief constable said officers were engaging with people and encouraging them to comply with the rules, but where there was "absolute refusal", they would take action.

Ahead of the weekend, during which good weather is forecast, Mr Livingstone said he expected people to continue to abide by the restrictions.

"We must maintain the discipline we've seen so far," he added. "It's the key thing to stop the spread of the virus."

Regulations to be reviewed

Under new laws, police have the power to enforce social distancing among the wider public, and to close events, gatherings and premises which flout government guidance.

Due to the exceptional nature of the powers, the regulations will be reviewed at least every 21 days to ensure they are still necessary.

National Clinical Director Jason Leitch thanked Police Scotland for encouraging members of the public to comply with the regulations.

"I would remind everyone that if you do have to leave your house for any of the essential reasons - food, medicine, care, exercise or work, and you absolutely cannot do them at home - then please stay two metres away from people you don't live with, and keep human contact as limited as possible," he said.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said he was hugely encouraged by the high levels of compliance with advice to stay at home as much as possible.

"These rules are in place to slow down the spread of Covid-19 which will protect the NHS and save lives," he said.

"While Police Scotland have powers of enforcement, I expect that these will be used only as a last resort, and that the vast majority of people will use their common sense and play a full part in this country-wide effort."