Having to enforce swiftly enacted curbs on public freedom was always going to present a challenge for the police.
And when emergency laws were passed to manage the coronavirus lockdown last week, headlines quickly followed to show where officers had arguably stepped over the line, with checkpoints, drones and easter-egg bans all cited as evidence of a heavy-handed approach.
The police defended themselves saying the guidance wasn’t clear on how to manage what are unprecedented situations, prompting further guidance to be issued on Wednesday this week (April 1) that encourages the use of “judgement and common sense”.
In the interests of balance, I’m happy to report that this was already in good supply at the weekend among the officers from Police Scotland, who we encountered while undertaking our latest Pharmaself24 installation at Houlihan Pharmacy’s Partick branch.
We had, of course, planned the install in detail to adhere to social distancing measures, with only one shopfitter required to carry out the physical work. However, one concerned neighbour, who was uncomfortable at our presence, decided to call the police.
When the officers arrived, we explained our reason for being there. We spoke about the fact that, when installed, the Pharmaself24 would provide patients with the means to safely collect their medicines outside – a benefit that the owner, Denis Houlihan, was very keen to bring to this branch as quickly as possible to limit people gathering inside the pharmacy and reduce the coronavirus transmission risk among both patients and the pharmacy team.
The officers’ response was the polar opposite of some of the previous week’s headlines: they were thoroughly understanding, and we were sent on our way with a pat on the back.
As a result, the residents of Partick can now pick up their prescriptions in an environment that safely adheres to social distancing measures, giving this story a happy ending at a time when good news is in short supply.