Humza Yousaf 'astounded' by number of house parties across Scotland
Justice Minister Humza Yousaf has said he is “astounded” by the number of people having house parties across Scotland, as police revealed they shut down at least 300 over the weekend.
Yousaf called the behaviour “reckless” and said that people are putting themselves and others in danger.
Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said the numbers were a concern and added that there was “no excuse” for attending or arranging such unlawful gatherings.
Police were called to at least 300 house parties between Friday and Sunday evening, Police Scotland announced.
Officers issued at least 101 fixed penalties and made 14 arrests. Entry to households was forced on three occasions.
Responding to the news, Yousaf tweeted: “I am astounded at the minority of people that are wilfully breaking the rules and having house parties despite knowing the danger they are putting themselves and others in. Reckless.”
Extra police officers were deployed over the weekend to make sure that pubs and clubs closed at 10pm, as per national lockdown rules, and found “very few issues”, with no premises being closed by the police.
But officers did respond to “at least” 300 house parties across Scotland.
Police Scotland analysis suggests that unlawful indoor gatherings were held across the country in every community and age group.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the figures should be seen in the context of a population of 5.4 million people.
She said the “vast majority” of people are abiding by the rules.
But, she added: “Anybody who is not, and particularly anybody who is fragrantly breaking very clear rules against house parties, should really take a look at themselves because we know that house parties are one of the risk factors that can cause this virus to spread.”
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone thanked the majority of people for following the rules but expressed concern about the number of house parties, reminding people indoor gatherings of people from different households is against the law.
The Chief Constable said: “Highly restrictive measures on our lives, freedoms, and daily routines are in place as, collectively, we respond to this public health emergency.
“Policing is here to support people and to help everyone to do the right thing, to prevent the spread of the virus. Officers will use good sense and exercise the discretion that is integral to the office of constable, to work with citizens to support the implementation of these new rules.
“The experience of the last six months is that the great majority of people are taking personal responsibility to do the right thing because they know that at this time physical distancing is the significant intervention that can be made to save lives.
“I am grateful for the support and co-operation of the public and the licensed trade which continued over the weekend. I also want to again underline my admiration and compassion for young people and students who have responded so well to the pandemic at this crucial time of their lives.”
Livingstone added: “There is no doubt that house parties or house gatherings are not permitted and there can be no excuse for arranging, attending, or hosting a house party.
“It is against the law.
“Where officers encounter blatant, wilful, or persistent breaches, we will take decisive action to enforce the law.”