Police Scotland to double its presence in border areas but no checkpoints planned
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone today announced the presence of officers would hopefully ‘deter’ anyone who might be considering breaching travel restrictions.
It came as the British Transport Police confirmed increased officers at major transport hubs across tier 4 regions as well as the wider network.
Yesterday Police Scotland insisted people should take ‘personal responsibility to do the right thing’ and that enforcement would only be used ‘as a last resort’.
Mr Livingstone said: “I’ve completely underlined my compassion and concern for everyone affected by the highly restrictive measures which are, unfortunately, absolutely necessary to control the spread of the virus and, ultimately, protect life.
"Following the announcement by the First Minister, there can be no doubt that, other than for the most essential journeys, people should not be travelling between Scotland and other parts of the UK.
"Today, I have authorised the doubling of out operational presence in the Border areas of Scotland.
"These highly visible patrols will be proactively deployed on our road networks to continue our operational activity to ensure drivers and vehicles are in a fit condition to drive.
"The patrols will also deter anyone who might be considering breaching the coronavirus travel restrictions.”
On Saturday, Ms Sturgeon said travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK would be banned.
This came after a surge of cases of a new coronavirus strain was identified.
The Chief Constable continued: “It is the consent of the public from which policing in Scotland draws its legitimacy.
"As our communities expect, where officers encounter wilful, persistent or flagrant breaches we will act decisively to enforce the law.”
British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable, Sean O’Callaghan, said: “The advice is clear, and we are confident that the large majority of people will abide by the restrictions in place.
“As has been the case throughout the pandemic, officers will be supporting rail staff through high-visibility patrols across England, Scotland and Wales, ensuring those on the network are safe. Our policing method remains the same – officers will engage with passengers and only use
enforcement if absolutely necessary.
John Lamont, Scottish Conservative MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, said:
“The Scottish Government and Police Scotland need to ensure clarity around travel restrictions to avoid any public misunderstanding.
"Clearly this virus does not respect borders but a range of exemptions have always been in place to allow safe and necessary travel for valid reasons, and we need to know if that has changed.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:“The police have been rightly commended for their proportionate response to the travel restrictions.
"The guidance has a range of exemptions so we need the police to act in a sensitive and helpful fashion.
"That proportionate response should not just apply to the English border but across Scotland.
"There is a significant difference in the infection rate between the Highlands and central belt so that will need attention too but in an intelligent way.
"Police Scotland should resist pressure to adopt a heavy handed approach whether it is on the English border or across Scotland.”
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