The chief of Scottish British Transport Police is facing criticism after making two trips from Glasgow to Yorkshire to visit family during lockdown.
Eddie Wylie made the 480-mile round trips between his Glasgow flat and his other home in Holmfirth, in spite of lockdown restrictions.
The BTP sought to defend Wylie’s actions in a statement, stating its officers are required to regularly travel across England, Scotland and Wales “for essential meetings or as operationally required”, and in such circumstances the Chief Superintendent would need to stay at whichever address was most convenient.
— markhmcgivern (@markhmcgivern) May 16, 2020
“Our officers can be posted anywhere in the UK, at any time. This means it’s not unusual for them to have their family home in one part of the country and rent other accommodation nearer to where they are stationed. The restrictions state people should only leave the place they are living if they’ve a reasonable excuse. This includes travelling for work where it’s not reasonably possible for that person to work from the place they are living. It would not be reasonably possible for Chief Superintendent Wylie to perform his role solely from either the Glasgow address, or his home in Yorkshire,” the force explained.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said it seemed “the BTP’s top officer in Scotland has failed to learn the lessons of the Catherine Calderwood debacle, and believes there is one rule for him, and one rule for the rest of us”.
“This could have serious consequences for the BTP’s ability to police the lockdown, which could in turn endanger public safety in Scotland. Eddie Wylie has serious questions to answer,” she added.
The news comes not long after Scotland’s former chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood was forced to resign after it emerged she twice visited her second home in Fife contrary to her own warnings to avoid unnecessary travel.
Moreover, on 5th May Professor Neil Ferguson, the epidemiologist whose modelling shaped Britain’s coronavirus lockdown strategy, quit as a government adviser after flouting the rules by receiving visits from his married lover at his home. Despite friends arguing the pair’s households were effectively shared, the visits clearly contravened authorities’ “stay at home, save lives” messaging, which urged people to remain within their family groups and not mix with members of other households.
— Matt Ridley (@mattwridley) May 11, 2020
“I accept I made an error of judgment and took the wrong course of action. I have therefore stepped back from my involvement in Sage. I acted in the belief I was immune, having tested positive for coronavirus, and completely isolated myself for almost two weeks after developing symptoms. I deeply regret any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating epidemic. The government guidance is unequivocal, and is there to protect all of us,” Ferguson said.