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Police Will 'Engage' With Christmas Travellers in Scotland as Law Enforcement Presence Set To Double

© AP Photo / Andrew Milligan/PAArmed police outside Celtic Park before the Scottish Premiership soccer match at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday 16 September 2017.
Armed police outside Celtic Park before the Scottish Premiership soccer match at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday 16 September 2017. - Sputnik International
The United Kingdom had promised a five-day loosening of lockdown allowing for a short period of travel relaxation so that families could convene for Christmas events. However, the plans were scrapped just a week before the festivities were set to begin because of a mutation of the coronavirus discovered in London.

Law enforcement will "engage" with people travelling while there is a blanket ban on movement in place across Scotland, the devolved nation's most senior police officer said on Monday.

Chief Constable of Police Scotland Iain Livingstone warned that the measures which restrict travel, including on movement between nations of the UK, would require an increase in officer patrols across the country.

Speaking at the Scottish Government's daily briefing on the pandemic, Livingstone told Scots not to "chance it", as the country aims to prevent the more infectious strain of the coronavirus spreading further after cases were identified in London and the South-East of England.

"In terms of the increase in presence that people will see right across Scotland but particularly in the Border country and ... Dumfries and Galloway there will be a significant increase in visible presence," said Livingstone.

He added that he expects to see a "reduction" in overall travel such as "the public being on the roads and moving around and therefore my expectation, my hope and my intent in terms of doubling the number of resources is that you will see a really significant impact".

"And if anybody has any sense that actually I am going to chance it ... what I would say is 'don't do that' ... not because you'll get stopped by the police, though you might. We will be visible and we will be engaging with people who are on the move. Don't chance it because you'll be putting other people at risk," he said.

​The announcement that Scotland would be doubling the number of officers on the beat comes after a statement issued on Sunday, where Livingstone said it would not be “appropriate or proportionate for officers to establish checkpoints or roadblocks simply to enforce travel restrictions.”

Scotland introduced a travel ban in November between the rest of the UK and the Irish Republic, with the limited exemptions such as work and caring duties as well as between level 3 areas. Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the restrictions will remain in place over the holiday period.

From the 26 December, all of mainland Scotland will be placed into Tier 4, with travel banned throughout the entire country including with the island communities, which will be put into Tier 3.

The UK Government has placed London and the South-East of England into a new (for England) Tier 4 lockdown as a more prolific mutation of the virus is causing fears of an uncontrollable spike in cases.

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