Following the introduction of the new law designed to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Western Isles Local Policing Team would like to extend their thanks to communities and businesses in the area for their support so far during this unprecedented time.
Just like the rest of the country, high‐visibility patrols have been in place across the Western Isles since enforcement powers were introduced on March 24, and it is clear that the vast majority of people are complying with the measures both nationally and locally.
Chief Inspector Ian Graham said: “Where our officers have encountered people outside, they have been able to Engage with them and establish their individual circumstances, Explain the guidance and Encourage them to comply with it in order to save lives and protect the NHS. We will use the enforcement powers as a last resort only where people continue to defy the clear advice being given by the government and our colleagues in the health service.
“We all recognise that the current situation is a significant change to the way people live their lives and we all need to adjust to that. We have been given extraordinary powers in an extraordinary situation ‐ powers Police would not normally wish to have ‐ but I would like to thank our communities across Western Isles for helping and supporting us so far.
“To enforce social distancing, people in Scotland are being asked to stay at home and only go outside if they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ ‐ these include shopping for necessary food, household and medical supplies, travelling to and from work where working from home is not an option, and daily exercise that adheres to social distancing guidance. People are advised to stay local for exercise and use open spaces near to your home where possible, avoiding any unnecessary travel.”
Despite the challenges we are all faced with, your local Policing team remains committed to making sure that everyone is looked after. A number of options are being assessed locally which will maximise resources for frontline policing and ensure officers can be deployed to where they are needed swiftly.
Chief Insp Graham added: “There is no denying that the demand on us all will increase but I can assure you that we will continue to provide the best service possible and deal appropriately and robustly with those who break the law to ensure the public is kept safe from risk and harm. Having a single force to respond to a national emergency means Police Scotland can quickly move people to where they are needed to respond to any given situation.
“If you report a crime be assured that it will still be dealt with but perhaps in a different way as we increasingly prioritise our demand to reflect the exceptional needs of this pandemic. For example, if you are reporting a minor crime you may find it’s dealt with by officers on the phone, however we will always aim ‐ where at all possible ‐ to find ways to assist those who are particularly vulnerable.
"Thankfully, we have a hugely committed and driven workforce who are working long hours, volunteering to be redeployed or to be given extra duties and cancelling leave to maintain response levels and keep our communities safe.”
Follow the Police Scotland Facebook page (www.facebook.co.uk/PoliceScotland-HighandIslandsPolice Divison) website (www.scotland.police.uk) and twitter http://twitter.com/WIslesPolice in addition to the Scottish Government website (https://www.gov.scot) for the latest guidance and advice.
We are aware that there is an increased risk of domestic abuse as people observe isolation and social distancing, and we will continue to respond to all calls domestic incidents. A new campaign has also been launched advising people to be cautious of online fraudsters and bogus callers with more of us at home than is usual. Information on both can be found at the channels mentioned above.
Chief Insp Ian Graham added: “A significant amount of incredible work is being carried out by keyworkers and I want to thank them for their heroic efforts. My plea to everyone is to listen to the advice, stay at home and help us keep you and your loved ones safe.
“We are relying on everybody, collectively, to address this absolutely unique and extraordinary time in our history.”