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Highland police chief praises public response to lockdown

By David G Scott

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POLICE Scotland's Highlands and Islands divisional commander has praised the vast majority of the public for their support and co-operation during the lockdown.

Latest figures show that 1637 fixed penalty notices were issued and 78 arrests made across the whole of Scotland between March 27 and April 23.

Ninety of the penalty notices were issued in the Highlands and Islands, with four arrests made.

The Highlands and Islands divisional commander, Chief Superintendent George Macdonald, said: “The public’s response has been extremely positive and only on very rare occasions have officers had to issue warnings or take enforcement action where individuals have flouted regulations and failed to comply repeatedly with police direction.

“I appreciate that as the restrictions persist, and the weather continues to be so good, it may feel tempting to spend time more outdoors and to visit the countless remote and rural beauty spots we are fortunate to have.

"However, we need everybody to play their part and the message is clear – you should only leave the house for very limited purposes including buying basic necessities such as food and medicine, for daily exercise, for medical needs or travelling for work which cannot be done at home."

Chief Superintendent Macdonald urged the public to not travel to take exercise and not to hold gatherings with people from outwith the household and to not hold house parties.

“In line with the rest of the country, our patrols will continue at key locations including beaches, dog-walking areas, parks and other green spaces – if you are out and about, officers may engage with you. Please explain your individual circumstances to them and if appropriate listen to their advice and encouragement to stay at home.

"On a personal level, we all know someone who works in the NHS or a care environment, we all have family or friends who through age or health conditions are being required to be shielded for their own protection. I would ask everyone to continue to stay at home, please travel only if absolutely necessary, adhere to the physical distancing guidance and keep yourself, your family and your community safe."

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