New Police Powers

The UK and Scottish Governments have now introduced separate pieces of legislation in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our communities.

Each piece of legislation contains separate powers for Scottish officers which enables them to help ensure that the current restrictions in place across the country are being followed. The fundamental principles of both pieces of legislation are to reduce transmission and keep people safe.

The vast majority of the public have and will continue to comply with the current restrictions. The policing style adopted will be central to ensuring the compliance of our fellow citizens. Officers should engage, explain, encourage and enforce.

This could be by asking individuals, groups or businesses whether they have heard about the new regulations and restrictions. Officers will stress the risks to public health and the NHS. Enforcement will be used as a last resort.

What you should do

To comply with these new powers you only have to follow these simple steps:

  • stay at home
  • only go outside for essential food, health and work reasons
  • stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people
  • stop all gatherings of more than two people in public

For more information visit the NHS Inform and the Scottish Government websites.

What the public can expect

There will be an increased police presence on the streets across Scotland with highly visible police patrols. Our officers are there to help and assist members of the public and will seek to engage with those who are not complying with current guidance.

Police Scotland is founded upon public service and operates under the fundamental principle of policing by consent.

The powers granted under the Coronavirus Act will enable officers to fulfil their duty to uphold the law and keep the public safe.

Our officers will continue to engage with the public in a positive and constructive tone as we support our colleagues in the health service at this extraordinary time.

The powers being afforded to our officers will be used as a last resort and only where people are defying very clear and sensible advice which is designed to protect them from harm.