Scotland’s most senior police officer says the force has been forced to step in after several licensed premises failed to shut their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Last Friday the Scottish Government said all pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs, cinemas and other venues must close as the number of coronavirus cases rose across the country.
And Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said that on Sunday officers were forced to issue emergency closure orders on a “small number of licensed premises” which did not comply with the request from the government.
He added that police will do everything they can to “ensure the public is kept safe from risk and harm” during the outbreak.
Mr Livingstone said: “The response to the coronavirus has escalated significantly in recent days and circumstances continue to develop at a rapid pace.
“I have always been clear that the police service of Scotland operates for the ultimate benefit of our fellow citizens and it is the consent of our communities from which we gain our authority and legitimacy.
“Your assistance, support and co-operation is vital during this critical period and I am grateful to the overwhelming majority who have complied with the significant sacrifices and changes to their lives that are needed to protect society.
“Our officers and staff are displaying great strength and resilience as they support the work of health professionals and wider society in what is a national effort.”
He added: “Yesterday, officers served emergency closure orders on the small number of licensed premises failing to comply with a government request to close on the grounds of the threat posed to public safety.
“We are carefully monitoring the progress of emergency legislation relating to covid-19 and we will continue to work with the government about what is being asked of the public and the enforcement we will take where necessary.
“My priority, as always, is to ensure the people of Scotland are protected and policed effectively.
“Those breaking the law will be dealt with appropriately to ensure the public is kept safe from risk and harm.
“I urge you all to stay informed about developments and reflect on how you go about your lives during these difficult days.
“We, in Police Scotland, will continue to focus on public service and we must all work to support the national effort.”