Police Scotland chief dismisses border road block claims

Force has been planning for how to deal with any divergence in lockdown measures in different parts of the UK.

Road blocks will not be set up in the event of Scotland and England easing coronavirus restrictions at different speeds, Police Scotland’s chief constable has said.

Iain Livingstone said divergence in lockdown measures either side of the border will make enforcing the law “more challenging”.

But he said he is “very confident” his officers will be able to cope.

Asked about newspaper claims that the police could set up road blocks to turn away English motorists, Mr Livingstone said: “No, there’s no intention of doing that – I think that’s uninformed speculation.

“We have no intention of having any road blocks on the English and Scottish border.”

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Mr Livingstone confirmed police have been planning for how to deal with different rules in different parts of the UK.

He said he hopes officers will continue to have “preventative engagement” and encourage people to follow social distancing guidance.

“Undoubtedly, it is a fair comment to say that if there are then differences and different parts of the United Kingdom, that would make the policing role more challenging,” he said.

“But I’m still confident, very confident, we will be able to respond to that.

“We’ve got very very close ties with all the communities that we serve.”

Mr Livingstone added: “We will be very clear that anything that we do is always with the consent of the public to support them, to explain why there may be changes to the law and to ensure that they do everything they can to maintain their physical distancing, and we are there to support them and – where necessary – to enforce the law.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there is “no point” having the lockdown guidance if the police felt they could not make people comply.

She added: “From the Government’s perspective, as we consider easing restrictions in the future, we take the view of Police Scotland on the enforceability and the practicality of the changes that we are considering.

“Police Scotland is an integral part of the approach we’re taking to assess different restrictions and how they may change in the future.”

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