A NIGHT time curfew in Scotland to help contain the coronavirus would be “police-able”, according to the leader of the organisation representing rank and file officers.

Calum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, said it was not his view whether there should or should not be one as that was a question for scientists.

“I can’t say whether it is required or not,” he told The National.

“But is it police-able? And the short answer is obviously yes. Then a third question is whether it is desirable from a policing perspective?”

He said the police service has shown throughout this pandemic whenever new law comes along and it does come along with great frequency and with great changes, the police service responds.

He said: “Like all law we would need to see what it looks like in its construction and formulation before being able to take a genuinely informed view.”

The Northern Ireland government imposed a curfew from Boxing Day to early January after a further rise in coronavirus cases. It meant that people could only leave their home from 6am to 8pm for essential reasons such as work that could not be done from home.

There was a slight relaxation of some measures on January 2, which saw the 8pm curfew lifted.

To date it is the only part of the UK which has had a curfew as a measure to combat the virus.

However, on the European mainland they have been introduced in various countries including France, Greece, Italy and Hungary.

Last Sunday Marseille, Nice and Strasbourg all decided to extend a nationwide curfew in France that runs from 8pm to 6am, starting it two hours earlier.

“We are doing everything we can to prevent the variants from entering and spreading across our territory,” French health minister Olivier Veran told Europe 1 radio on Sunday.

He added: “We are seeing the situation in England, we are seeing the situation in Scotland, I don’t want that to happen in France.”

Officials in Marseille said the decision to extend the curfew was in part due to the discovery in the region of the new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus first found in the south of England.

On December 31, one French person living in Britain who had spent the holidays in France tested positive and was later identified to carry the British variant of the virus.

Earlier this week the Dutch government announced it is extending the country’s lockdown until February 9, and is also considering the introduction of a curfew.

“Everyone will understand we have no other choice,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte told a press conference on Tuesday evening.

He added: “The figures are not going down sufficiently and now we have to deal with the British variant of the virus. What we see coming out of Britain and Ireland is heartbreaking and alarming.”

In addition to extending the lockdown, ministers are looking at what else can be done to further reduce the infection rate, Rutte said. One option is to bring in a curfew, and the Outbreak Management Team – the cabinet’s main coronavirus advisory group – has been asked to report back on that specific option. “We do think it could be an effective measure to limit infections via the home,” Rutte said.

The Indian state of Maharashtra also imposed a night curfew on cities including the country’s financial hub Mumbai last month because of fears about the new coronavirus strain from Britain.

There is currently no curfew in Scotland, but people have been told to stay at home unless they leave for exercise or for an essential purpose such as work or caring responsibilities.