New police code

Fairness and respect key to police ‘stop and search’ powers.

Promoting public safety and preventing and detecting crime are the main aims of a new code of practice on stop and search powers.

In use from today, the code 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.

The code sets out that 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.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson 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.

“I have spent some time with police officers using the new code on our streets and am in no doubt that such searches will be carried out with fairness, integrity and respect.

“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.”

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams added: 

“Police Scotland welcomes the introduction of the Code and has worked closely with the Scottish Government to support its development. 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.”


Code of Practice on the exercise by Constables of Power of Stop and Search of the Person in Scotland

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