Coronavirus Scotland: Police broke up over 3,000 illegal parties

4 weeks ago 4

Police in Scotland have been called to break up more than 3,000 illegal parties in just two months - with a third of them held after the lockdown ban on indoor gatherings was imposed. 

Hundreds of house parties have been shut down every week since police were granted powers to break up gatherings held in breach of coronavirus restrictions on August 28, data shows.

Figures obtained by BBC Scotland through a freedom of information request revealed that between August 28 and October 14, police officers were called out to 3,052 illegal gatherings.

The BBC reported that a third of the incidents happened after the ban on indoor visits - which had been in place in large parts of central Scotland - was extended nationwide on September 23.

There have been 83 arrests and more than 420 fines have been issued.

Police in Scotland have been called to break up more than 3,000 illegal parties in just two months - with a third of them held after the lockdown ban on indoor gatherings was imposed. (File image)

Around 300 people attended a paid-for party at the Mansion House of Kirkhill (pictured) in Midlothian on Sunday, August 30 - sparking a police probe

During the last weekend in August alone, Police Scotland officers responded to reports of around 300 house parties across the country, dispersed those attending and issued six fixed penalty notices. 

Police also broke up a house party in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, around 8pm on Saturday night, where five fixed penalty notices were issued.

Two men were also arrested in connection with a disturbance at the property. 

Meanwhile, 'selfish and irresponsible,' organisers of a massive house party in Midlothian face a police investigation after 300 people turned up to a paid-for event.

Scottish police officers were called out to a rented mansion in Midlothian on Sunday, August 30 amid concerns from neighbours that a party was being run as a commercial event.

Under current restrictions people cannot meet those from another household in indoor settings across Scotland unless they are part of an 'extended household', available to people who live alone or only with children under 18.

People can meet outdoors in groups of up to six, not including children under 12, from no more than two households, and a maximum of six people from two households can meet in indoor hospitality settings such as pubs and cafes.

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: 'Despite overwhelming levels of co-operation and support from communities across Scotland, a small minority of people continue to host or participate in house parties and gatherings.

Under current restrictions people cannot meet those from another household in indoor settings across Scotland unless they are part of an 'extended household', available to people who live alone or only with children under 18. (Above, Princess Street in Edinburgh)

Nicola Sturgeon yesterday relaxed Scotland's coronavirus lockdown rules, allowing some pubs to serve alcohol indoors again from next week in a boost for the nation's beleaguered pubs

Scotland still faces Covid challenges as North and South Lanarkshire could be moved into the highest level of lockdown, reports say

'These are not confined to certain age groups and people should not be in any doubt that house gatherings allow coronavirus to spread. Where we encounter wilful, repeated, persistent or flagrant breaches we will, as the public would expect and support, act decisively to enforce the law.

'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.

'Recent figures highlighted public confidence in Police Scotland has risen by around 20% because of the way our officers and staff have carried out their duties with common sense and courtesy during the pandemic.

'Assaults on police officers and staff carrying out their duties during this challenging time are disgraceful and will not be tolerated as we remain committed to improving and ensuring their safety.'

It comes as Nicola Sturgeon yesterday relaxed Scotland's coronavirus lockdown rules, allowing some pubs to serve alcohol indoors again from next week in a boost for the nation's beleaguered pubs.

The First Minister bowed to business pressure to make a raft of changes to the country's hospitality rules as she provided more detail about a new five-tier lockdown due to come into force on Monday.

Pubs in Level 3 which are currently closed by law will be allowed to reopen until 6pm but not serve alcohol, she told the Scottish Parliament, a move which will help those which also serve food.

 'Selfish' organisers of huge house party in Midlothian face police probe for reckless conduct after 300 people turned up to paid-for event

By LUKE MAY for MailOnline 

'Selfish and irresponsible,' organisers of a massive house party in Midlothian face a police investigation after 300 people turned up to a paid-for event.

Scottish police officers were called out to a rented mansion in Midlothian on Sunday, August 30 amid concerns from neighbours that a party was being run as a commercial event.

According to the BBC, the gathering was at the Mansion House of Kirkhill in Gorebridge, which rents for around £1,600 a night on Airbnb. 

Hundreds of people were at the event, despite current Scottish lockdown rules limiting indoor gatherings to just eight people. 

A 29-year-old man was issued with a fixed penalty notice, but Police Scotland is now carrying out further enquiries to investigate potential culpable and reckless conduct charges and licensing breaches

A 29-year-old man was issued with a fixed penalty notice, but Police Scotland is now carrying out further enquiries to investigate potential culpable and reckless conduct charges and licensing breaches.

The partygoers at the paid-for event have been blasted as 'selfish and irresponsible' after putting hundreds of people in danger during the spread of coronavirus. 

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said 'Those attending this organised event showed a blatant disregard for the regulations in place to help save lives and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

'Further investigations are being carried out with a view to what other charges may be brought, including culpable and reckless conduct.

'Anyone attempting to hold such an event, or any party in clear breach of the law, should be aware they will be met with a robust response from Police Scotland.

'I cannot stress enough the serious risk to public health an event of this size poses not only to those present and anyone they come into contact with, but also the wider community and all those from the emergency services who attended.'

Councillor Stephen Curran, Chair of Midlothian Police, Fire and Rescue Board, said: 'Those 300 or so people didn't just put themselves at risk of contracting coronavirus, they put residents across Midlothian and beyond at risk.

'To call them selfish and irresponsible is an understatement. We realise it can be challenging following the guidance but if the majority of us can do it then so can they.

'We are working hard to avoid lockdowns like those happening in and around Glasgow but we need everyone to help keep Midlothian safe. So, please follow the guidance. It will save lives.'

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