Coronavirus: Police reveal number of Fifers told to disperse in lockdown

Iain Livingstone, Chief ConstableIain Livingstone, Chief Constable
Iain Livingstone, Chief Constable | JPIMedia Resell
If you are out, officers may ask you why

Police have had to step in and tell Fifers to disperse on 57 occasions since lockdown began – but have made no arrests.

The figures were revealed in a briefing from Iain Livingstone, Chief Constable, on how his officers had been using the emergency powers given to them during the coronavirus pandemic.

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With a ban on public gatherings, 14 warnings were issued in Fife to disperse, and 29 fixed penalty notices handed out.

To date there have been zero cases where officers have had to use reasonable force to get people to return home, and no arrests have been made.

Across Scotland, police have made 1400 requests to disperse, issued 464 warnings and 537 fixed penalty notices, forcefully taken 58 people home, and made 35 arrests.

Mr Livingstone said the vast majority of Scots had continued to adhere to the restrictions during the health emergency.

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He said: “Since the emergency powers came into effect two weeks ago, we have been required to take enforcement action in limited situations. Thus far, across the whole of the country, we have issued over 500 fixed penalty notices.

“This has typically been during incidents where people do not comply with legal instructions even after being spoken to by officers. For example, house parties or gatherings in public where those involved refuse to disperse.”

He said policing in Scotland would continue to be “fair, reasonable and proportionate” adding: “That is why I have invited a leading human rights lawyer to review our use of the emergency powers. I ask all our fellow citizens to continue their support and co-operation as demonstrated in recent weeks.

“If you are out and about, officers may ask you why. I would encourage you to engage with officers, explain your circumstances, then listen to and act upon any advice given.

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“I recognise this is an extremely difficult time, particularly during the Easter holiday period when in normal circumstances we would all be expecting to be out and about, enjoying the good weather and seeing family and friends. But I ask that everyone accepts the changes to our daily lives and the personal sacrifices required. Because, ultimately, it will be to the benefit of us all.

“If we all do the right thing to maintain social distancing, stay home and keep safe, we will protect the NHS.”

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Thank you

Allan Crow, Editor, Fife Free Press

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