Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 - part 4 – Police Investigatory and Other Powers: statutory guidance on investigative interviews

This statutory guidance is published by Scottish Ministers in accordance with The Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019. It contains information to support police, local authorities and others with functions related to investigative interviews involving children under the age of 12.


1. Further details on roles, responsibilities and procedures to be followed can be found in operational guidance.

2. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child provides further detail on upholding children’s human rights in justice settings in General Comment 24, including during police interviews. Additional guidance is provided in the Council of Europe Guidelines on Child-Friendly Justice.

3. The authority in whose area the child predominantly resides or, if there is no area of predominant residence, the authority with whose area the child has the closest connection.

4. Section 39(3)

5. Section 51 – Right to have a child interview rights practitioner present.

6. The Act allows for the constable to cause a child to be questioned by another person.


8. An interview under ‘urgent circumstances’ is covered in section 54 of the Act.

9. “parent” includes guardian and any person who has care of the relevant child, (except where provided otherwise: see section 40(7) and (8)

10. Chapter 4 of Part 4 of the Act covers this.

11. Where forensics have been obtained through an emergency authorisation, a retrospective application will be required.

12. The Act defines ‘parent’ and what constitutes being ‘related’ to the child at section 40(7) and (8)

13. Section 40(7) and (8)

14. Section 41 of the Act covers what is required to be notified.

15. Section 41 places the duty on a constable to provide a notice in writing explaining the information. Another professional communicating information to the child would be following authorisation of a constable.

16. Section 54 applies where there is a risk of loss of life if the child is not questioned immediately.

17. Section 44 of the Act which covers this.

18. This is to ensure understanding of the information and their rights in relation to the order, in particular their right to seek the court’s permission to appeal.



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