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Police to take ‘no action’ against Aberdeen University professor after journey to Wales

Principal of Aberdeen University Professor George Boyne. Picture by Colin Rennie.

Police have cleared the principal of Aberdeen University of any wrongdoing over his 480-mile trip to Wales.

Professor George Boyne, who is also vice-chancellor, issued an apology after making the journey for a “private health matter” before taking residence at his family home, which is occupied by his son.

The stay came just weeks after people across the UK were banned from visiting other households in an attempt to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Large-scale outbreaks have been reported at university campuses across the country since reopening, including at Hillhead student village in Aberdeen, where scores of students have been placed into lockdown to prevent clusters growing.

South Wales Police said it is “investigating the circumstances” of the journey and have ruled “no further action” will be taken.

A spokesman for the force has confirmed they not be taking any action following the conclusion of their probe into the situation.

He said Prof Boyne’s near 500-mile trip was deemed a “reasonable excuse” under the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 rules.

The spokesman said: “South Wales Police has made contact with Professor Boyne following his public statement outlining his reasons for travelling to an area of south Wales currently subject to local lockdown restrictions.

“We are now satisfied that his reasons for visiting the area are legitimate and are what would be considered a ‘reasonable excuse’ under Welsh Government guidance.

“Prof Boyne has been suitably advised and no further action will be taken.”

An Aberdeen University spokesman said Prof Boyne was “cooperating fully” with the investigation into his actions.

The spokesman said the university authorities are also continuing their own probe into Prof Boyne’s actions.

He said: “The senior governor met with members of the university court and briefed them on the circumstances and received their feedback. The matter is still under consideration.”

In a written apology emailed to students and staff, Mr Boyne wrote: “On Friday I travelled down to Wales for a private health matter, to see a consultant I have been seeing for some time.

“For the purposes of the visit I have been staying at our house in Wales which is occupied by our son. As I have reduced immunity, it felt like the safest option to be in our house, rather than in a hotel.

“It has been suggested to me that this may not be in line with local guidance. I have checked the position with South Wales Police and have been advised that they will not be taking any action.

“However, I sincerely apologise for any concern this may cause. I have informed the senior governor of Aberdeen University.”

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