Sergeant Richard Barnwell from the Turriff Community Policing Team has provided the following information & advice about how our community should behave during these unprecedented times with Covid-19 and the restrictions on movement.
This month has seen significant impact on the provision of frontline services with the devastating global spread of the COVID-19 Virus (Coronavirus). In one short month, this virus has completely changed the way we live our lives, with the UK Government issuing public safety instructions in the form of a UK wide lockdown. Police Scotland have been provided new powers to enable us to enforce this lockdown when necessary.
Further information and details can be found here on the Public Health Matters blog.
I am pleased to report that the vast majority of people are abiding by the lockdown instructions, but there are still those who continue to put themselves and others at needless risk by flaunting the rules.
I am not going to go into the details of these instructions but I will try and provide clarity on various re-occurring issues that we are finding
Children – Under 18
We are seeing numerous reports of under 18’s meeting up / congregating in public places since the lockdown has been in place. This is entirely unacceptable, you should not be meeting up with anyone out with your household. Ultimately it is the parents of these children who are responsible for them and should exercise reasonable steps to ensure their children are safe and are abiding by the lockdown. Any parent found not taking reasonable steps may be subject to any fines or charges brought by their child’s actions.
Exercise / Outdoor access
One form of exercise is allowed per day, alone or with members of your household. You should not be meeting up with friends or even family members from other households in order to exercise. Any exercise should commence and conclude at your home address, there is no provision for anyone to drive to a location in order to exercise. The point is to reduce social contact not increase it.
We are fortunate in Ward 7 that we are never more than a few minutes’ walk away from our beautiful countryside. The lockdown has shown a sharp increase in the number of people out exercising in the countryside and it is important to advise them and remind others that your ‘right to roam’ is not absolute.
Information regarding your rights and responsibilities of access can be found here on the Aberdeenshire Council website.
In essence, your right to roam is subject to responsible use of the countryside and given the current global pandemic, the unnecessary wandering over farmers’ fields, the opening and climbing over gates or entering onto land or areas where farmers or at risk persons may be working and living is entirely irresponsible.
You should not be entering onto any farm yards, passing through any private residential property or their curtilage and you should not be interacting with any animals that are not your own. We have to remember that this virus can transfer and remain on hairs and surfaces long after you have left the area, you may needlessly be putting other people and yourself at risk.
A final point for dog walkers to consider; you are lawfully obligated to maintain control of your dog(s) whilst in a public place, if you are using the countryside be mindful that we are well into lambing season with heavily pregnant ewes and baby lambs all around us. If you do not have 100% control over your dog whilst walking in the country then keep them on a lead. Farmers have the lawful right to shoot any dog entering their land and worrying their livestock and you as the owner could face criminal charges for allowing it to stray, causing worry of injury to livestock.