Extra officers to patrol Aberdeen after 'lockdown' restrictions reintroduced
Police Scotland will have additional patrols in Aberdeen after local ‘lockdown’ restrictions were reintroduced following an “accelerating increase in coronavirus cases” in the city.
And while the policing approach will be “consistent” with that taken since the outset of the pandemic, Police Scotland said it would “not hesitate to take enforcement action where appropriate”.
Bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs were ordered to close by 5pm yesterday (August 5) and local restrictions on travel and indoor gatherings between households have been re-imposed.
Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said it was “really important” that people follow the instructions and guidance from the Scottish government.
“To support that, we will have additional patrols in Aberdeen, where local restrictions have been reintroduced,” he said.
“Our approach to these local restrictions will reflect the consistent approach taken by Police Scotland since the outset of this pandemic, and our officers will continue to engage, educate and encourage people to comply, as we all support the public health efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
“Throughout the response to the pandemic, the majority of the public followed the law and Scottish government advice. I realise that this situation will be frustrating for people in the affected area but it’s really important that we all continue to do so.
“Our officers will continue to explain the legislation and guidance but, for the minority who may choose to breach the regulations and risk the health of others, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action where appropriate.”
Mr Kerr added: “As a national service, Police Scotland is able to quickly flex capacity to support local communities across the country, and we will provide whatever additional resources are necessary to protect and support the communities affected.
“The chief constable has made it consistently clear that we all should take personal responsibility to do the right thing and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to stay safe, protect others and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.”
The restrictions were reintroduced after NHS Grampian reported 54 positive cases of Covid-19 in the cluster associated with the Hawthorn Bar in Aberdeen. A total of 191 close contacts have been traced through Test and Protect.
The Scottish government said more than 20 licensed premises have now been identified as being linked to people who have subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 and the outbreak is connected with the night-time economy.
Councillor Jenny Laing, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said it would continue to work in partnership with Police Scotland, the Scottish government and NHS Grampian “to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to reduce the potential spread of Covid-19 in the city and surrounding areas”.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the decision had “not been taken lightly”.
“The fact that the outbreak is no longer simply associated with one location, combined with the accelerating increase in cases means we cannot rule out community transmission now being the case in Aberdeen,” she added.
“We are at a stage of this pandemic where extreme caution is still necessary. Acting now gives us the time and the space to protect the ability of our young people to return to full time education.
“I would ask people who attended any of the locations named to be extra vigilant, to follow all guidance and to isolate and book a test if they have any symptoms.”
She said the government was also advising people not to travel to Aberdeen while the restrictions are in place.
The current restrictions will be reviewed every seven days in discussion with local partners, but the Scottish government said it has not ruled out extending them if necessary to protect public health.