Covid fines 'always under review' says Nicola Sturgeon

The £60 fine for breaching Covid regulations is under constant review, the First Minister said, as Police Scotland reported 300 fixed penalty notices were handed out over the Halloween weekend.

There are no plans at present to increase the fines payable by those who breach Covid rules.
There are no plans at present to increase the fines payable by those who breach Covid rules.

The charge, which can be reduced to £30 for prompt payment, is less than a third of that in England where Covid fines start at £200.

However Nicola Sturgeon said she believed that “persuasion rather than enforcement” worked better in convincing the public to abide by the rules.

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Police Scotland revealed yesterday that its officers dealt with more than 300 house gatherings as people celebrated Halloween, handing out an equal amount of fixed penalty notices.

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Asked if the £60 was deterrent enough, the First Minister said: "We have a pre-existing framework for fixed penalty notices in Scotland and we've tried to fit a Covid enforcement regime within that, but we keep that under review regularly.

"We also try to strike an appropriate balance and take behavioural science advice on this, between enforcement and encouragement. The police do that in everything they do, they don't start with enforcement, they try to encourage and educate people and use enforcement as a last resort, and certainly our behavioural science advice is we get further if we try to persuade people to do the right thing."

She added: “But we keep it under review, I don't think there's an exact magic formula - we need to learn from experience. Also police can, rather than issue a fixed penalty notice, if they think the circumstances merit it, take a prosecution of someone if they think the nature of the breach is serious enough.”

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