Police Scotland are urging the public to “do the right thing” on Hogmanay as coronavirus restrictions forced major public celebrations and gatherings to be cancelled.
Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham reiterated an appeal to the public to stick with the current measures on what he said will be “a very different Hogmanay for many of us this year”.
He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Thursday that while regulations allow for small groups to meet outdoors, people are being urged to “do the right thing” and help prevent potentially spreading Covid-19.
Mr Graham said: “Regulations do allow for small groups up to six people from only two households together outdoors.
“But we’re encouraging people to take personal responsibility for doing the right thing and using their judgment about what’s appropriate to do in these circumstances.
“It’s been the case that very often gatherings become larger, we’ve seen a lot of gatherings outside that have involved far larger groups of more than two households and we’ll continue to use the approach we have to engage with people.
“We’ve broken a lot of gatherings like that up and I think in the large majority of cases that we’re dealing with people know that’s against the regulations and that it’s unsafe to be doing that.
“I should also add the overwhelming majority of people across Scotland have adhered relentlessly to these really highly restrictive measures that have been in place and I thank everybody for continuing to do that.
“We recognise that the vast majority of people are going to stay at home with their own household, they’re going to do what they can do within these restrictions for a very different Hogmanay and hopefully still have a good time doing that.”
Restrictions were eased for Christmas Day but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made clear in the time beforehand no such measure would be introduced for Hogmanay or New Year’s Day.
Despite this, Mr Graham said it is “likely that we’ll have to break up some parties”, and he confirmed officers will be redeployed and there are “additional patrol areas where there’s a risk of travel regulations being breached”.
He added: “Thankfully people have been contacting us when they know that people are breaking the law and having a party in the house.
“It’s not always some of the largest gatherings that get the most significant attention in the media, sometimes it can be smaller gatherings but people are phoning us when they think people are breaking the law or when people are gathering in unsafe circumstances.
“The police are attending or making a judgment about what the right thing to do is at that time.
“I would reiterate the message that it’s not safe for people to be meeting indoors – we’re asking people to do the right thing to stop spreading the virus tonight.”