Nicola Sturgeon won't face police action after mask 'error'

18 April 2022, 17:11 | Updated: 19 April 2022, 12:28

Nicola Sturgeon won't face police sanctions for not wearing a mask.
Nicola Sturgeon won't face police sanctions for not wearing a mask. Picture: Alamy

By Gina Davidson

Nicola Sturgeon has escaped sanction after Police Scotland officers were forced to remind her of her own Covid laws as she was caught on camera breaching mask rules.

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The force said it was taking no further action after the First Minister was reported to it for not wearing a mask while inside a small barbers shop in East Kilbride while campaigning for the local government elections.

The police could have issued a penalty notice of up to £60 for breaking the law on mask-wearing, but Nicola Sturgeon said she had explained the error was "inadvertent".

The breach occurred just two days before Scotland's legal requirements to wear masks inside shops and on public transport were dropped.

A statement from Police Scotland said it had reminded Nicola Sturgeon of the "importance of wearing a face covering when there is a legal requirement to do so" and confirmed that no further action was necessary.

A video posted on social media showed the First Minister without a face covering during a visit to Iconic Gents Hair barber shop in East Kilbride on Saturday.

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon reported to police after footage showed her 'breaking face mask law'

Read more: Face masks remain law in Scotland until Easter Monday

The First Minister apologised for the "error", and said she immediately put her face covering on within seconds of realising her mistake.

She said: "On Saturday, while campaigning out outdoors in East Kilbride I was invited into a local barber shop. After a few seconds of being in the shop, I realised I had forgotten to put my face covering back on. I then immediately put it on.

"However, I accept that not wearing a face covering even for a few seconds was an error on my part and I am sorry for that.

"Having received complaints about the matter, Police Scotland made contact with me. This is what they would have done with anyone else in these circumstances, and they were absolutely right to treat me no differently to any other citizen."

She added: "I explained that the error was inadvertent and the police have confirmed that the matter is closed.

"While the law no longer requires face coverings to be worn, I will continue to do so in circumstances where this can help reduce the risk of infection, and I encourage everyone to do likewise."

In a statement, Police Scotland said: "Local officers have spoken to the First Minister to remind her of the importance of wearing a face covering when there is a legal requirement to do so.

"Given the circumstances of this incident, Police Scotland is satisfied that no further action is necessary.

"This is in line with our proportionate approach throughout the pandemic."

Nicola Sturgeon also broke her own mask rules back in December 2020. She apologised after she breached Covid rules by taking off her face mask at a funeral wake describing it as "a stupid mistake".