Police Scotland hand out 25 fines over breaches of Coronavirus lockdown

Police Scotland have handed out 25 fixed penalty notices over breaches of strict Coronavirus lockdown rules during the first weekend of new emergency powers.
Police officers in Scotland handed out £25 in fines at the weekendPolice officers in Scotland handed out £25 in fines at the weekend
Police officers in Scotland handed out £25 in fines at the weekend

Scot were hit with fines, which can start at £30, for holding house parties or refusing to go home, while some business were also sanctioned for remaining open.

New powers were handed to officers last week aimed at cracking down on any breach of the new lockdown rules.

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Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham set out the circumstances which led to spot fines.

"We had a number of house parties still going on that we were called to attend,” he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland today.

"If people refused to break those up then notices could be issued. We had groups of people outside and again if people refused to comply then that was some of the circumstances .

"And in a very small number of cases we issued fixed penalty notices to businesses that were still operating where it was not appropriate."

The new powers in the Coronavirus Act make it a criminal offence to flout the public health guidance on social distancing to prevent Covid-19.On-the-spot fines of £30 can be issued to people who breach social distancing measures, rising to £60 if they are not paid within 28 days and capped at £960 for repeat offenders.Mr Graham's comments come after images on social media showed dozens of cars at Strathclyde Country Park in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, on Sunday.Although the guidelines allow people to take a walk as a form of exercise each day, Mr Graham said the public were still getting used to what the measures mean for daily life.He added: "We're working with local authorities and other bodies that run open spaces. People have been encouraged to go out and exercise, it's very clear it's taking a little bit of time for people to work out how this is going to operate."It's such a significant change in everybody's lives. This was made very clear last week by the Chief Constable - we're going to do this through policing in Scotland as we always do."Engaging with communities, policing by consent and making sure that we do that in a courteous and respectful manner to keep the population safe."Of course everybody's getting to grips with these changes that have come in so quickly."If there are repeated instances then the penalties rise very quickly and we'll see if that has an impact."And of course, if people refuse to comply once they've been issued with a penalty notice, then a criminal offence has been committed and people can be arrested."