Police Scotland officers visit Catherine Calderwood and issue warning after lockdown trip pictures emerge

She has apologised for action after pictures emerged of her and family at their second home

By Joe Cawthorn
Sunday, 5th April 2020, 1:38 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th April 2020, 1:39 pm

Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood has been visited by the police after flouting lockdown rules, the chief constable of Police Scotland’s has confirmed.

Images, published by the Scottish Sun on Sunday, show Dr Calderwood, 51, 44 miles away from her home in Edinburgh with other family members at their second home in Earlsferry, Fife.

She has since issued a statement for her actions, saying she apologised “unreservedly".

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Chief constable Iain Livingstone said in a statement: “Earlier today, local officers visited DR Catherine Calderwood and spoke to her about her actions, reiterated crucial advice and issued a warning about her future conduct, all of which she accepted.

“The legal instructions on not leaving your home without reasonable excuse apply to everyone. Social distancing is the key intervention to curtail the spread of coronavirus and it is essential the instructions are followed to protect each other, support key workers, take strain from the NHS, and save lives. Individuals must not make personal exemptions bespoke to their own circumstances. It is vital that everyone adheres to these requirements.

“Police officers and staff are putting themselves in harm’s way day and night to explain these instructions to our communities, encourage co-operation and, where necessary, enforce them

“I want to thank the overwhelming majority of people across the country who are doing their duty during this public health emergency.

Police Scotland chief constable Iain Livingstone makes statement following Catherine Calderwood's lockdown trip

“Our fellow citizens are observing the guidance and making significant sacrifices and changes to their lifestyles and daily routines. I am grateful for their continued support and co-operation during this critical period.”

Dr Calderwood said in her statement earlier on Sunday: “I wish to apologise unreservedly for the issue reported in the media today.

“While there are reasons for what I did, they do not justify it and they were not legitimate reasons to be out of my home. While I and my family followed the guidance on social distancing at all times, I understand that I did not follow the advice I am giving to others, and I am truly sorry for that.

“I know how important this advice is and I do not want my mistake to distract from that. I have a job to do as Chief Medical Officer to provide advice to Ministers on the path of this virus and to support the medical profession as they work night and day to save lives, and having spoken with the First Minister this morning I will continue to focus entirely on that job.”

The General Secretary of the Scottish Police Federation said her actions had made policing the coronavirus lockdown more difficult, and all four Scottish opposition parties called on Dr Calderwood to resign.

Scottish Government cabinet secretary Michael Russell called her actions were “ill-advised” and said she would be “held accountable” at a press conference this afternoon.