Police officers have used emergency coronavirus powers more than 62,000 times although in 94% of cases no formal action was taken.

The figures also revealed that people living in the most deprived areas were up to 12 times more likely to be given fines for flouting Covid-19 restrictions.

Police Scotland. Photo: Martin P. McAdam www.martinmcadam.com

John Scott QC, who was commissioned to review Police Scotland’s use of the powers, told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “It’s slightly more than 4,000 cases that enforcement action was taken, but it’s about 6% of the total police activity involved the use of fixed penalty notices.

 “When police spoke to people, they stopped doing whatever it was they were doing that might have been a breach of the restrictions or they went home. The vast majority of the time, the people being spoken to by the police, it was enough.

“In that very small percentage of cases, the 6%, the likelihood of being issued with a fixed penalty notice was 12 times higher for those living in the 10% most deprived parts of Scotland.

“It tells us something about what support and resources are needed in these areas from a health perspective and also with adhering to coronavirus restrictions.

“No doubt in those cases of fixed penalty notices being issued, there are people who simply refused to take the opportunity to stop breaching the regulations, but others found themselves in circumstances where that was difficult and there were people whose home circumstances made it far more difficult for them to comply.”