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Police lockdown conduct to be independently scrutinised

Police Scotland has commissioned John Scott QC to review its use of new emergency powers to respond to the coronavirus lockdown.

The human rights lawyer will chair a group which aims to independently scrutinise  how officers and staff are applying new legislation.

Chief constable Iain Livingstone QPM said: “The vast majority of people are doing the right thing during this health emergency because they know it is the best way to protect the NHS and save lives.

“Community policing has a vital role to play as we all make the changes and sacrifices needed to curtail the spread of coronavirus. With the support and co-operation of our fellow citizens, we will continue to focus on explaining the legal instructions, encouraging compliance, and using enforcement only where necessary.

“Nevertheless, these are extraordinary powers, introduced quickly for a significant moment in our history and it is essential our use of them is thoroughly and independently scrutinised. I am grateful to Mr Scott for agreeing to provide his substantial experience and abilities, which can bring significant value to our thinking and operational practice.”

John Scott QC added: “These are exceptional and difficult times. In response, the Scottish Government has introduced exceptional measures, including significant new powers for Police Scotland.

“Given the importance in Scotland of policing by consent, the chief constable recognises that the use of such exceptional powers should be the subject of full transparency.

“I therefore welcome his invitation to chair a group to provide independent scrutiny of the exercise of those powers.

“I will engage closely with a range of key stakeholders to quickly set appropriate Terms of Reference for this work. I will also establish a reference group. This review should contribute to maintaining public confidence in the work of Police Scotland.”

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