Edinburgh police issue 32 fines and arrest five people as Covid-19 lockdown rules flouted

Police in Edinburgh have issued 32 fines and made five arrests over people breaching the Covid-19 lockdown rules during the past two weeks.

The new figures were released after Police Scotland’s Chief Constable, Iain Livingstone, revealed more than 500 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued in the last two weeks across Scotland since emergency coronavirus powers came into force allowing officers to disperse gatherings and make arrests.

Chief Constable Livingstone said many of the fines were given to people hosting house parties and people gathering in public, even after police had given warnings.

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Fines start at £30, doubling to £60 if they are not paid within 28 days. Repeat offenders can face fines of up to £960.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Mark Scates and a general picture of Portobello Beach.

Edinburgh and Lothians

Between March 27th and April 9th, police in Edinburgh issued 32 fixed penalty notices and arrested five people in relation to flouting guidance on leaving home and social distancing.

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A total of 106 people in the Capital listened to police by dispersing after being asked to do so, while a further 22 people only took heed after officers needed to give them a warning.

Police in Edinburgh also needed to use “reasonable force” with three people to take them home.

The UK Government guidance says people should only leave their home for reasons such as getting food, medicine, once a day exercise and working if it’s essential. A distance of two metres should be maintained with other people from different households when outdoors.

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The latest Police Scotland figures, published on Thursday, revealed Edinburgh has the joint third highest number of arrests along with Lanarkshire, while seven of Scotland’s 13 police divisional areas recorded a higher number of fines being issued.

Greater Glasgow police issued 113 FPNs and made eight arrests, the highest figures for Scotland. A total of 404 people dispersed after being requested to do so by police while 155 needed a warning.

Data suggests the majority of Edinburgh residents have been sticking to the Government guidance, especially when compared to other less populated parts of Scotland. For instance, police in Argyll and West Dunbartonshire issued 42 FPNs and arrested seven people, while police had to ask 233 people to disperse.

Lanarkshire police issued 57 FPNs and made five arrests, while officers in Ayrshire handed out 47 fines and arrested two people.

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In Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, a total of 67 FPNs were dished out while one arrest was made.

North East Police issued 38 fines but zero arrests were made, although police had to forcibly take 14 people home – the highest of those figures in Scotland.

Police in the Lothians and Borders issued just 18 fines in total, with one arrest made. In terms of fines issued, only Dumfries and Galloway (16) and Tayside (15) recorded a lower number.

Officers in the Highlands and Islands appeeared to have had more problems, with 19 FPNs and two arrests.

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In Fife, the majority of people appeare to be sticking to the guidance with just 29 FPNs issued and zero arrests made.

Data for all Scottish police divisions

Across Scotland, a total of 537 FPNs were issued and 35 arrests made in the last two weeks.

Police needed to ask 1,427 people to disperse at some point and a further 464 people were warned again before disbanding or moving on.

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Here is a breakdown of the data:

North East – Dispersal on request (72) / Dispersal on warning (22) / Fixed Penalty Notice issued (38) / Reasonable force used (14) / Arrests made (0)

Forth Valley – 80/ 16/ 44/ 2/ 1

Tayside – 69/ 8/ 15/ 5/ 0

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Edinburgh – 106/ 22/ 32/ 3/ 5

Greater Glasgow – 404/ 155/ 113/ 10/ 8

The Lothians & Scottish Borders – 59/ 21/ 18/ 3/ 1

Renfrewshire & Inverclyde – 48/ 101/ 67/ 1/ 1

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Argyll & West Dunbartonshire – 233/ 13/ 42/ 5/ 7

Highland & Islands – 83/ 14/ 19/ 2/ 2

Fife – 57/ 14/ 29/ 0/ 0

Lanarkshire – 68/ 20/ 57/ 3/ 5

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Ayrshire – 129/ 56/ 47/ 7/ 2

Dumfries & Galloway – 19/ 2/ 16/ 3/ 3

All of Scotland – 1,427/ 464/ 537/ 58/ 35

Police advice

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During Thursday’s briefing alongside First MInister Nicola Sturgeon, Chief Constable Livingstone also said: “Overall, compliance has been very high in Scotland and I thank the public for their overwhelming co-operation and commitment.

“Policing in Scotland will always seek to be fair, reasonable and proportionate. That is why I have invited a leading human rights lawyer to review our use of the emergency powers. I ask all our fellow citizens to continue their support and co-operation as demonstrated in recent weeks.

“Please - stay home; stay safe; and follow the guidance. Do not make personal exemptions bespoke to your own circumstances.

“If you are out and about, officers may ask you why. I would encourage you to engage with officers, explain your circumstances, then listen to and act upon any advice given.

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“I recognise this is an extremely difficult time, particularly during the Easter holiday period when in normal circumstances we would all be expecting to be out and about, enjoying the good weather and seeing family and friends. But I ask that everyone accepts the changes to our daily lives and the personal sacrifices required. Because, ultimately, it will be to the benefit of us all.”