9th Jan 2018

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr
This article was originally published on this website

Suspects to be read their rights in Scotland for first time ever

Suspects apprehended for crimes will be read their rights for the first time in Scotland under sweeping new powers being handed to police officers. New laws come into effect later this month that will change the formal procedures officers must follow while detaining a suspect. For the first time, suspects will be given a warning while being detained that emphasises their so-called ‘Miranda rights’ – informing them of their right to remain silent and under what charge they are being arrested.


Agenda: This will be a crunch year for policing in Scotland

Police Scotland has real powers, more than any other Scottish institution. How it is held to account in its use of these powers matters. When the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 comes into force on January 25, the legislation will bring together all of Police Scotland’s powers as to arrest, search and detention in one place. Identifying the extent of the power the police have, the law confirms that a person can be detained without criminal charge for up to 12 hours. It also clarifies when a person can be stopped and searched in the street. No other agency or individual has powers that come close to this.


SPA under pressure to allow Phil Gormley back to work

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) has said the inquiry into Police Scotland’s chief constable would not be prejudiced by him returning to work.  Chief Constable Phil Gormley – who has been on leave since September last year – was told he could resume his duties in November before an alleged “intervention” by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.  However, it has now emerged that the SPA failed to speak to the PIRC before making any decisions.  Commissioner Kate Frame wrote to Holyrood’s Public Audit and Post-Legislative Committee telling MSPs there had been “no consultation” from the SPA on Mr Gormley’s period of leave. She added: “My concerns mainly arose from the fact that a large number of the witnesses were police staff from the federated ranks and civilian staff who worked within the executive offices at Police Scotland’s headquarters, Tulliallan, and therefore in the immediate vicinity of the chief constable’s office.


Fingerprint officer wins £415,000 compensation claim

Calum MacNeill QC of Westwater Advocates represented a police fingerprint officer in her successful £415,000 claim for compensation from the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).  Fingerprint officer Fiona McBride, who identified fingerprints at a murder scene as belonging to police officer Shirley McKie in 1997, has won a long-running compensation battle which has played out at every level between the employment tribunal, the Supreme Court and back.  After five Supreme Court justices had restored an order made for the expert’s reinstatement, the SPA argued that it was not practicable to reinstate her to her old job after such a long time had passed and when she still maintained the identification was correct.


Law allows begging on streets of Scotland – but not aggression

According to the law, people can sit on the street and receive money from passers-by who donate it freely under no duress. However, a legal line is crossed when begging becomes aggressive.  What constitutes aggressive begging is down to the interpretation of a police officer who is asked to respond to a complaint – in the same way other low-level offences, such as breach of the peace, can be down to the interpretation of a police officer.


Fife MSP calls for progress on a new justice centre for Kirkcaldy

A Fife MSP has called for progress on plans for a new state of the art justice centre in Kirkcaldy. The call comes as Claire Baker, the Mid Scotland and Fife member, reveals figures which show the number of adjournments of criminal trials is up 14 per cent on last year and 65 per cent in the past five years.


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