A fixed penalty issued by police yesterday morning (Thursday 14 January) marks a change in local policing using powers granted under the Coronavirus Act.

A 32-year-old woman was issued with a fixed penalty in the Plasterfield area in the early hours of Thursday morning, after being found to be in contravention of rules about visiting other households.

The woman was issued with a £60 fixed penalty and any future contraventions will incur increasing penalties.

Covid legislation for the Western Isles, which is currently in Level 3 along with other island groups, can be found here

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/pages/protection-level-3/

Scottish Government regulations for tier three areas state that “You should not meet anyone who is not in your household indoors in your home or in their home.”

The Police Scotland approach follows ‘the four Es’ which require officers to:

  • Engage: ask whether an individual is aware of the government request; establish individual circumstances and how quickly someone can comply
  • Explain: the risks to public health and to the NHS in line with government guidance
  • Encourage: voluntary compliance
  • Enforce: if faced with non-compliance and only as a last resort.

In this particular case the offender had already breached the law on a previous occasion and had received verbal advice.

A statement on the Police Scotland website says: “Police Scotland is founded upon public service and operates under the fundamental principle of policing by consent.

“The powers granted under the Coronavirus Act will enable officers to fulfil their duty to uphold the law and keep the public safe.

“Our officers will continue to engage with the public in a positive and constructive tone as we support our colleagues in the health service at this extraordinary time.

“The powers being afforded to our officers will be used as a last resort and only where people are defying very clear and sensible advice, which is designed to protect them from harm.”