Reports that police staff are being instructed to turn off tracing app are “inexcusable”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today branded new reports that staff working in the Police Scotland’s Dundee control room are being instructed to turn off the contact tracing app while at work as “inexcusable”.  

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have learned that controllers working in the Dundee facility have been told to turn off the Protect Scotland App while at work, despite not being required to wear PPE. A member of staff working in the facility described the working conditions as “unsafe”. 

A copy of the poster which advises staff to turn off the app is available here

Last week teachers in a number of local authorities reported being asked to switch off the app while in school.

Willie Rennie commented: 

“We owe a huge debt to all the people serving on the front line of public services throughout this crisis. After last week’s reports of teachers being told to turn the app off in school, news that police officers and staff are being told similar is alarming. This is no way to treat them. 

“This app is an essential part of the puzzle that is meant to keep us safe. It is inexcusable that they are being told to turn the contact tracing app off while they are around others and without PPE.

Alerts need to be acknowledged and acted upon, not callously dismissed.  If notifications are getting in the way, more mitigations need to be put in place.

“While it should be complemented by social distancing and other measures, the app should not be treated as disposable.  The Justice Secretary should immediately disavow this practice and make clear that no employer should order their staff to turn off the tracing app at work unless risks have been properly addressed and it is clinically approved.”

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