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coronavirus

Police express gratitude for public compliance to social distancing regulations

Police Scotland have thanked the public for their overwhelming support and co-operation through the first week of new regulations on social distancing.

Officers issued 144 fixed penalty notices under new legislation between Friday, March 27 and Wednesday, April 1.

Only one of those was in the Highlands and Islands and it is believed that none has been issued in Orkney.

Scotland’s chief constable Iain Livingstone said: “People recognise that it is their duty to adhere to these guidelines to protect their fellow citizens, ease the strain on the health service, and collectively save lives.

“Everyone must contribute to the national effort to respond to the coronavirus outbreak and I am grateful to the vast majority who have made significant changes to their daily habits and routines.

“I expect the high levels of co-operation to continue as awareness and understanding of the guidance increases. Stay indoors, stay safe, protect the NHS, and save lives.

“The Police Service of Scotland will continue to play its part, engaging with people, establishing their individual circumstances and explaining the risks to public health of failing to comply with guidance.

“Officers and the public must take a common sense approach to this unique emergency.

“We will always encourage compliance but, as a last resort, we will use the enforcement powers which are in place.

“I am clear that policing in Scotland gains its legitimacy and authority from the consent and support of the public. Everything we do will be done in a fair, reasonable, and proportionate manner.”

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Everyone should be staying at home wherever possible and I am hugely encouraged by the high levels of compliance around the country after the first week of these rules being in force.

“These rules are in place to slow down the spread of COVID-19 which will protect the NHS and save lives. 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.”

National Clinical Director Jason Leitch said: “The best way of slowing down the spread of coronavirus is social distancing, so I must thank Police Scotland for working with members of the public to keep them safe and encourage them to comply with these 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.”

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