Police officers responded to 405 house parties across the country following reports of alleged breaches of coronavirus regulations this weekend.
Six people were arrested and one fixed penalty notice was issued. The others attending the house parties were given suitable advice and were dispersed at incidents between Friday, 11 September, and Sunday, 13 September.
Two officers who were responding to a house party in Muirhouse, Edinburgh, were allegedly assaulted and the car windows of two police cars were smashed during the incident at 5.35am on Sunday, 13 September. Two men, aged 47, have been arrested and charged in connection with the alleged incident and were due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today.
Last week, we recorded a significant increase in the number of reports of noise, public nuisance and disturbance compared to the same time in 2019. This week, the trend has continued. Officers responded to 1852 reports of such incidents across the country – an increase of 41% compared to the same weekend last year.
Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: “The figures from this weekend show that we will use the powers we have to disperse parties which breach the regulations and will enforce where necessary. We will not tolerate blatant disregard for the legislation which is there to help stop the spread of the virus.
“I’m extremely disappointed to learn that two officers were allegedly assaulted while responding to a party in Edinburgh. Our officers find themselves dealing with situations on a daily basis to protect the people and communities we serve, and are trained to a high level to deal with violent and confrontational situations. However, being assaulted is not simply part of the job and it cannot be tolerated. The Chief Constable made it clear that assaults against officers and staff is utterly unacceptable in his public pledge made to tackle this last month.”
DCC Graham added that Police Scotland’s consistent enforcement approach would continue as new regulations came into place limiting the number of people who can gather together, indoors or outdoors, to a maximum of six from two households.
He said: “The majority of people have been complying with the law and we know that public confidence in the policing approach we have taken is high.
“Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance, and encourage compliance, only using enforcement as a last resort.
“We will continue with that approach, but we will not hesitate to use enforcement action where it is necessary. We have had almost 68,000 interactions with the public since the start of this emergency and have had to take enforcement action on only around 3600 occasions.
“However, we will not tolerate blatant disregard for the law, which is in place to help stop the spread of the virus, and we have been using our powers to disperse large groups of people at house parties.
“The Chief Constable has made it clear that we are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to stay safe, protect others and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.”