Police and partners urge the public to continuing supporting physical distancing to help save lives
Issued by Police Scotland
As Police Scotland’s response to the coronavirus pandemic continues to protect the NHS and save lives, Highlands & Islands Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent George Macdonald would like to thank the vast majority of the public for their ongoing support and cooperation.
Figures released today show that Police Scotland issued just 1,637 fixed penalty notices and made 78 arrests across the whole of Scotland between Friday, 27 March, and 7am on Thursday, 23 April. 90 of these penalty notices were issued in the Highlands & Islands, with four arrests made.
He said: “It has been one month since the Scottish Government’s coronavirus emergency powers were introduced, and I would like to express my sincere thanks to the vast majority of people living in the Highlands & Islands for your support during this extraordinary time. The public’s response has been extremely positive and only on very rare occasions have officers had to issue warnings or take enforcement action where individuals have flouted regulations and failed to comply repeatedly with police direction.
“I appreciate that as the restrictions persist and the weather continues to be so good, it may feel tempting to spend time more outdoors and to visit the countless remote and rural beauty spots we are fortunate to have across the Highlands & Islands. However we need everybody, collectively to play their part, and the message is clear - you should only leave the house for very limited purposes including buying basic necessities such as food and medicine, for daily exercise, for medical needs or travelling for work which cannot be done at home. Do not travel to take exercise, do not hold gatherings with people from outwith your household and do not hold house parties.
“In line with the rest of the country, our patrols will continue at key locations including beaches, dog walking areas, parks and other green spaces - if you are out and about, Officers may engage with you, please explain your individual circumstances to them and if appropriate listen to their advice and encouragement to stay at home.
"We are well aware of the sacrifices people are making to play their part in preventing the spread, protecting the NHS and ultimately save lives. On a personal level, we all know someone who works in the NHS or a Care Environment, and we all have family or friends who through age or health conditions are being required to be shielded for their own protection. I would ask everyone to continue to stay at home, please travel only if absolutely necessary, adhere to the physical distancing guidance and keep yourself, your family and your community safe."
Convener of The Highland Council, Councillor Bill Lobban added: “We all have an important role to play in slowing the spread of coronavirus and it is good to see that the vast majority of people are taking this very seriously and adhering to the national guidance.
"We are very fortunate in the Highlands to have wide open spaces and natural beauty, and while it is important to get time outdoors and maintain our physical and mental health, we must ensure we follow the physical distancing guidelines and do not put any additional pressure on the NHS at this time.”
Dr Ken Oates, NHS Highland’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are benefiting greatly from the physical distancing measures and self-isolation because those measures were started here when we were earlier in the curve, but it is clear that the epidemic won’t go away, the virus won’t disappear.
“It’s vital that we continue to adhere to the physical distancing guidance and don’t become complacent and assume that because we are a rural area it will be fine – because it will still challenge us severely, probably the most significant challenge we have ever had to our local health and social care services.”
To read more about the national statistics, visit - www.scotland.police.uk/whats-happening/news/2020/april/continued-public-support-needed-to-save-lives