Posters asking Dundee police officers to disable the Protect Scotland contact tracing app have been taken down amid claims staff were being put at risk.
Liberal Democrat leader and Fife MSP Willie Rennie described the posters which were put up in a station in the city as “inexcusable”.
Police Scotland said all guidelines were being followed to the letter and to suggest otherwise would be “misleading and wholly inaccurate”.
The posters advised employees to pause the app when phones were stored in lockers or in jackets to avoid large numbers of people being wrongly alerted to self-isolate
A spokesperson for the police said this was in line with Scottish Government advice but the posters had now been removed due to concerns the message was not clear enough.
Mr Rennie said: “We owe a huge debt to all the people serving on the front line of public services throughout this crisis.
“This app is an essential part of the puzzle that is meant to keep us safe. It is inexcusable that they are being told to turn the contact tracing app off while they are around others and without PPE.
“Alerts need to be acknowledged and acted upon, not callously dismissed. If notifications are getting in the way, more mitigations need to be put in place.”
The app works through Bluetooth technology and anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
They are then advised to self-isolate.
The Scottish Government said it was an “extra tool complementing existing person-to-person contact tracing” which remains the main component of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.
Police Scotland’s Assistant Chief Constable Alan Speirs said: “The safety and welfare of our officers and staff has been a concern and high priority since the pandemic began and any suggestion to the contrary is both misleading and wholly inaccurate.
“We have worked tirelessly to ensure our people have the support they need as they continue to play a vital role in the national effort to combat coronavirus.
“Police Scotland fully supports the Protect Scotland app and officers and staff are encouraged to download it on personal devices.”
He added: “The Scottish Government introduced a pause function on the app to avoid people receiving alerts when they would not be at risk from the virus, such as when PPE is worn, or physical distancing is maintained.
Staff in Police Scotland’s Dundee control room are being told to turn off the contact tracing app while at work.
The app is an essential part of the puzzle that is meant to keep us safe. It is inexcusable that they are being told to turn it off. pic.twitter.com/kCbJ7DR6hE
— Willie Rennie (@willie_rennie) November 17, 2020
“Staff within our command and control centres were advised to activate the pause function, in line with Scottish Government guidance, when phones were stored in lockers or in jackets to avoid large numbers of people being wrongly alerted to self-isolate.”
In Aberdeen last week, teachers were told to switch off the app by the council.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said doing so “defeats the purpose” and encouraged everyone to keep it on when carrying their phone.
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