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New Code of Practice on Police Stop and Search Powers

A new code of practice is now in force in Scotland on the use of police stop and search powers that aims to promote public safety and prevent and detect crime.

According to the Scottish Government, the code sets out that the use of powers must be necessary, proportionate and in accordance with the law and recognises that specific guidance on dealing with children and vulnerable adults is required.

It was developed with an expert group led by John Scott QC, and received widespread public support during consultation and was unanimously approved by the Scottish Parliament.

“Police Scotland welcomes the introduction of the Code and has worked closely with the Scottish Government to support its development,” commented Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams. “It provides clear guidance to all our officers and places the rights of the individuals at the centre of any decision to carry out a search.”

“In preparation for the introduction of the Code all frontline officers have received training and we will continue to work closely with partners, particularly children and young people, to monitor its impact,” he said.

“The ability of police to stop and search individuals can be an intrusion into liberty and privacy, but remains a valuable tool in combating crime,” added Justice Secretary Michael Matheson. “The views expressed during the consultation period were absolutely key to shaping the new code. I am very pleased to see it in use and believe that the public can now have even greater confidence in Police Scotland as they carry out their duties.”

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