A former part-time sheriff has raised concerns about Covid rule-breakers camping overnight at a picturesque Aberdeenshire harbour.
Edward Savage, who served as a part-time sheriff from 2003 to 2016 and worked at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, lives close to the Port Erroll Harbour, Cruden Bay.
Mr Savage said that despite the stay-at-home rule being in place for the past few months, which was replaced with stay-local guidance on Friday, he has noticed a number of people staying overnight at the harbour itself in campervans on occasion.
At the end of March, Mr Savage reported one campervan to the police, after noticing it had been stationed there since the previous evening.
The former part-time sheriff has now criticised the police’s response, and argued that it was inappropriate that he was asked by officers to find out what the occupants were doing himself.
A chief inspector defended the actions of the police, and said that based on information provided at the time, “no further action was required”.
Mr Savage said: “We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, so I called the police to report the fact that the stay-at-home message wasn’t being followed.
“I was asked by the police if I knew why there were, and I thought that was peculiar, because that’s surely a matter for the police to find out.
“I was told there was a number of reasons why they could be there, such as if they were victims of domestic abuse, and I said to them I was being told to do the investigation work on behalf of the police.
“I was told that unless a crime was being committed, the police would not come out, but I said a crime had been committed, and hung up because I thought it was a waste of time.
“I know the score of where everybody’s duty lies, so to be asked why they were there was surprising.
“Was I seriously being asked to go up and knock on a door in the middle of a pandemic, when I don’t know who they are?”
Chief Inspector Jackie Knight said that the police ensure all calls from the public are assessed properly and responses are appropriate.
She said: “On Saturday, 27 March, we received a call from a member of the public advising that a campervan was parked in the harbour area of Cruden Bay.
“Based on the information provided at that time, no further action was required.
“I would like to reassure members of the public that all calls made to Police Scotland are thoroughly assessed to ensure the appropriate response is provided.
“Anyone who has concerns over how a report has been handled can contact police on 101 to submit a complaint.”