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POLICE Scotland's detectives have adapted how they conduct criminal investigations to meet with social distancing guidelines.

The Glasgow Times understands that the force's Major Investigation Teams, who handled murder probes and complex criminal enquiries, have limited door-to-door questioning.

It is understood other specialist units are also adapting the traditional method of investigating.

During a recent probe in Glasgow, local residents were instead delivered a letter urging witnesses to contact the police by phone.

The letter said: "Due to the current Government measures put in place in respect of Covid-19 and in order to cut down on face to face contact we require members of the public to contact the police in the first instance by telephone in other to assist with this enquiry."

Police Scotland confirmed that the changes were now in place.

The force added that an assessment of the crime would be made and in some cases, officers may contact the public by telephone or e-mail in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines during the UK's current lockdown status which is expected to last until at least the Easter weekend.

Glasgow Times:

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: "We are committed to making sure that every one of Scotland’s citizens are looked after and protected during these challenging times.

“In order to keep people safe, including members of the public, officers and staff, we have changed some of the ways we respond to calls and conduct investigations to minimise contact and reduce the risk during this unprecedented coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“In some cases, after rigorous assessment of a crime or incident report through our contact centres, officers will engage by phone or email where appropriate to avoid unnecessary contact and risk to the public and to ensure everyone gets the right response."

He added: “As a frontline emergency service, Police Scotland has a critical role in daily life and if the physical presence of the police is required then we will attend.

"Our response to serious crime investigations will remain rigourous and robust, even although some of the ways we will engage with people will necessarily change to keep everyone safe.

“We continue to support and protect the vulnerable, responding to incidents 24 hours a day and we have officers in communities, engaging with people in order that they follow the very clear and sensible instructions from health experts and government.

"We continue to prioritise frontline response and providing critical policing services to communities across Scotland. Although we continue to monitor increased absences, Police Scotland is still in a position to provide visible and effective policing right across the whole of this country."