THIS week, new legislation came into force to determine the maximum number of people allowed to gather together indoors and outdoors.

I want to be clear that common sense must be applied and I appeal to everyone across East Lothian to adhere to the new guidelines.

Throughout the pandemic, my officers have adopted an engaging approach to what is presented in front of them.

The new powers being afforded to them will be only used as a last resort and only where people are defying very clear and sensible advice which is designed to protect them and others from harm.

It is clear that we are currently going through a challenging time and Covid-19 is increasing again, bringing additional pressures on everyone. Every day, police officers are dealing with people who are not only subject to Covid-19 restrictions but who may also be victims of crime or are in a personal health crisis.

Crime can be life-changing and affect people emotionally, physically and financially, and the impact can last for days, months and in some cases a lifetime.

Police officers are highly trained to deal with a wide variety of events and incidents and can be that one person to help someone in need.

After every incident, my officers make an assessment to refer someone to our partners for further support and guidance. One of these services is Victim Support Scotland (VSS), who can assist with a wide variety of help and provide practical and emotional support and information on your rights. If you have been the victim of crime or need support, please visit or call 0800 160 1985.

Many of you will have seen the extensive media coverage of a large party in Midlothian which resulted in the organisers being reported to the Procurator Fiscal. Also, across Scotland in a short period of time, there were 405 house parties disrupted, with six arrests made. Thankfully, we haven’t see these issues across East Lothian.

There has been a very small number of complaints and the vast majority of people are complying with the regulations. My officers haven’t issued any fixed penalty tickets or charged people for Covid-related offences since the height of lockdown and I thank everyone for this.

Planning is now well under way for Bonfire Night and Hallowe’en, which has always been a busy period for us. With organised displays being cancelled, it will be interesting to see how this changes the demand on the fire service and police but as always we will work very closely with our partners and be ready to deal with incidents as they happen.

It never seems to stop, the challenges continue to come thick and fast, but rest assured we will always be here, working day and night to keep everyone safe.