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Criminal Justice Bill passes Stage 3

Published: 8 Dec 2015 18:45
Part of:
Law and order

Legislation will help modernise the criminal justice system.

A new law setting out improvements to the criminal justice system has been passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill takes forward a range of proposals to modernise and improve efficiency within the criminal justice system. The new legislation includes a number of important reforms and responds to the work of four independent reviews of criminal law and practice.

A new code of practice to underpin how Police Scotland uses stop and search will be introduced and the maximum sentence for handling knives and other offensive weapons will be raised from four to five years.

Other key measures contained in the Bill are:

  • The modernisation of arrest, custody and questioning procedures including enhanced protections for child and vulnerable adult suspects
  • Creation of a clear framework for the fundamental police powers to arrest, hold in custody and question people suspected of having committed a crime
  • Improving the right to legal advice for individuals taken into police custody
  • Making greater use of technology in criminal procedure
  • Establishing a Police Negotiating Board for Scotland for the negotiation of police officer pay and conditions

Following recommendations made by Lord Bonomy, the Scottish Government accepted that it was not appropriate to continue with corroboration reform as part of this legislation.

Speaking after the Stage 3 debate Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson said:

"This Bill represents a significant step forward in ensuring our criminal justice system continues to be modern and efficient while striking the right balance between strengthening the powers available to police and prosecutors while protecting the rights of the accused.

"It takes forward a wide range of proposals all designed to modernise and improve our current criminal justice system in Scotland and I am delighted that the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill has been approved by the Scottish Parliament today."