Scotland enforcing tighter restrictions after banning travel from rest of UK
Police Scotland has said it will double its presence along the border with England to enforce tighter coronavirus restrictions.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a “strict travel ban” on Saturday that prevents travel to or from other parts of the UK.
The severe lockdown measures came after Boris Johnson and England’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, revealed the spread of a highly contagious new variant of Covid-19 was causing a rapid rise of infections in London and across the South East of England.
Chief Constable lain Livingstone from Police Scotland said “highly visible patrols” on roads will be used to “deter anyone who night be considering breaching the coronavirus travel restrictions”.
Some exceptions to the ban are allowed for essential purposes.
In a statement, Mr Livingstone said it would not be “appropriate or proportionate for officers to establish checkpoints or roadblocks to simply enforce travel restrictions”.
“Today, I have authorised the doubling of our operational presence in the Border areas of Scotland,” said Mr Livingstone.
“These highly visible patrols will be proactively deployed on our road networks to continue our operational activity to ensure drivers and vehicles are in a fit condition to drive.
“The patrols will also deter anyone who night be considering breaching the coronavirus travel restrictions.”
Mr Livingstone said he expects roads to be “quieter than usual over the corning days”.
He added: “We have been clear throughout this public health crisis that your police service is here to support our collective effort to combat coronavirus.
“Though the rules have changed often and, at times, quickly, officers and staff will continue with common sense, empathy and discretion to work with our fellow citizens to help keep everyone safe.
“It is the consent of the public from which policing in Scotland draws its legitimacy.
“As our communities expect, where officers encounter wilful, persistent or flagrant breaches we will act decisively to enforce the law.”
After announcing the strict travel ban, Ms Sturgeon said she would be speaking to police and transport operators to see how it could be “strengthened”.
The First Minister said delivering the news “makes me want to cry”, and said: “I share that sense of fatigue and demoralisation about this.”
She added: “If it wasn’t for this new strain, I wouldn’t be standing here right now announcing this because our case levels right now – because of the Levels approach we’ve taken – are actually quite stable.
“This is preventative action because we know there is a more-rapidly transmitting strain out there and so we’re acting preventatively.
“Everything we’ve learned about this virus says that you do that – you act quickly and don’t have regrets later, and that’s what we’re seeking to do.”
John Lamont, Scottish Conservative MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, said more clarity was needed.
“The Scottish Government and Police Scotland need to ensure clarity around travel restrictions to avoid any public misunderstanding,” he said.
“Clearly this virus does not respect borders but a range of exemptions have always been in place to allow safe and necessary travel for valid reasons, and we need to know if that has changed.”