The Sottish First Minister came under fire after she announced new powers permitting officers to disperse indoor gatherings with more than 15 people from one household. Despite insisting the new powers would only be a “last resort”, her critics disagreed.
One posted on Twitter: “Nicola Sturgeon: House party police powers plans not about ‘stopping people having fun’…she is becoming the most outrageous liar.
“Her nose is soooo big she can now smell her own bulls**t!! Lying b*****”
Another posted: ‘Sturgeon: ‘We’re not trying to police your social lives.’
“As she announces new laws policing how many people can socialise together in private.”
Meanwhile, the body representing rank-and-file officers said they had identified loopholes in Ms Sturgeon’s plans.
David Hamilton, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), said the organisation was not consulted on the move by the Scottish Government and it has questioned how the new powers will work in practice.
From tonight, police will be given new powers to break up house parties involving more than 15 people from more than one household.
But speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday, Mr Hamilton said: “The legislation was only published yesterday and we have a number of questions with that… we’ve identified a number of loopholes.
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“There’s a number of questions we have about that.”
Mr Hamilton claimed the legislation, which came into force on Friday, would be seldom used and he described the new powers as being about “messaging”.
He said: “Fundamentally, this is a messaging bit of legislation.
“We don’t expect to see it being used frequently and we’ll continue with the approach of educating and engaging people without having to use powers.”
Mr Hamilton later said officers “would not hesitate” to use the powers if necessary, but such instances would be rare.
Both the First Minister and Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said the powers will be used as a “last resort”, with officers favouring an approach based on engagement with the public.
Ms Sturgeon said the temptation to hold big indoor gatherings will be greater during the cold autumn and winter months ahead, and evidence shows they pose a “significant transmission risk”.
But she said the new powers will be a “last resort only” for use in the “most blatant breaches of the guidance”, and will be reviewed every three weeks.
She said: “I want to make it clear – particularity to young people – this is not about trying to stop people having fun.
“We are not trying to police your social life. Seeing and socialising with your friends is important, especially during what continues to be a very difficult period. But it needs to be done safely and responsibly.”