Some still flouting Covid laws, police say

Sergeant Iain MacNicol.
Sergeant Iain MacNicol.

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Covid restrictions have been largely observed in Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands, one of the area’s police officers has said.

Sergeant Iain MacNicol also said that coronavirus had not had the same effect in the area as in other parts of the country, but expressed concern that some residents continued to allow others into their homes.

The report was discussed at a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands (MAKI) area committee on Wednesday, February 3.

Argyll and Bute has been shown to have one of the lowest figures of Covid cases per 100,000 of population, although the weekly total case number rose slightly in the update given on the day of the meeting.

Sergeant MacNicol said: ‘Covid impacts on us daily but not to the same extent possibly in MAKI as in other areas.

‘We do receive a relatively low number of calls from members of the public daily highlighting any Covid concerns around properties or people they believe to be involved in Covid breaches and each one is looked at separately.

‘This tends to increase at weekends when people seem more likely to be tempted to socialise.

‘When dealing with these, we obviously have to consider any circumstances that would be exempt from the legislation or guidance, such as essential maintenance or extended households, for example.

‘But there are certain individuals in our community who continue to allow others to come into their houses and socialise, which is a concern.’

The sergeant also outlined police procedures in the event of responding to any potential breaches of Covid regulations.

He added: ‘Strategically, it has been outlined that the police response will follow the four-step escalation principles of engagement, explanation, encouragement and finally enforcement but there are instances where officers are justified in moving straight to enforcement with the issue of fixed penalty notices.

‘Covid also affects the police response to other incidents and Police Scotland has adjusted its operating model and is now adhering to a policy of ‘reduced attendance and appropriate contact’.

‘This means we are dealing with more incidents by telephone and other remote models of contact when appropriate but each call is risk-assessed and if officers need to attend it goes without saying they will do so.

‘Our officers have all been issued with PPE with individually fitted masks as well as the standard surgical type masks and hygiene supplies are readily available.

‘There are designated safe systems of working in place and Covid consideration is given to everything we do to ensure the safety of the public and our officers and staff is maintained as best we can.

‘We continue to work closely with partners to address issues and concerns but on the whole compliance levels are good. Generally it is a positive picture in MAKI and we are obviously hoping this continues.’