Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP says that when the Parliament returns from its February recess she will bring forward amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill to outlaw extra-legal stop and search.
SACC has campaigned for many years against extra-legal stop and search. We urge MSPs of all parties to support the changes to the law proposed by Alison McInnes, and we hope the Scottish Government will adopt them.
70% of searches carried out between March 2013 and April 2014 were outside the law. Police claim that although they had no legal authority to carry out these searches, they nevertheless had the consent of the people involved. SACC does not believe that consent given in these circumstances is likely to be free and informed. Police in England and Wales are prohibited from searching people on the basis of their supposed consent.
Alison McInnes says:
"The only way to guarantee for good that stop and search will be accountable and regulated is for parliament to legislate. My amendments will put a stop to discredited consensual stop and search.
"The revelations from earlier this week showed that a memo from the executive is not sufficient to ensure a fundamental change of practice. My amendments will in no way limit the extensive and appropriate statutory powers that police have to search for drugs, guns and knives. This is about ensuring a healthy balance between civil liberties and protections."
This is a view SACC shares.