Welcome to the Police legislation section.
This section will look at the most common offences encountered by Scottish Police officers and details any relevant statute and section for the offence. All efforts will be made to keep the information up to date and accurate, however police-information.co.uk does not accept liability for the use of the information or any errors in the information whatsoever.
Your guide to commonly used Offences and Police Powers in Scotland.
Source: Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 s.2(1)(a)
Offence: It is an offence for any person, without lawful authority, to abandon on any land in the open air, or on any land forming part of a highway.
- a motor vehicle
- anything which formed part of a motor vehicle and removed from it in the course of dismantling.
If the vehicle is left in such circumstances or for such a period that it may be reasonably assumed to have been abandoned, then the vehicle shall be deemed to be abandoned unless proved contrary.
Source: The Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 (Go to the Act)
These provisions are embodied in the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 which makes it unlawful to be in possession of alcohol, be drunk, or possess fireworks, etc at major football and rugby matches. Local instructions will detail any other grounds or matches, which have been designated.
Offences re public transport Section 19(1) of the Act creates an offence for any person to be drunk, or be in possession of alcohol, whilst on a public service vehicle or passenger train which is being principally used for carrying passengers to or from a designated sporting event.It is also an offence for the hirer, operator or operator's employee to permit alcohol to be carried on such a public service vehicle.
Sections 20(1) to 20(8) of the Act create offences for any person to be within, or attempt to enter, the relevant area of a designated sports ground during the period of a designated sporting event if they are:
- In possession of a controlled container, or
- In possession of any alcohol, or
- In possession of any firework or smoke flare, etc, or
Section 21 of the Act provides that a constable may:
- Stop and search vehicles if Section 19 offences are suspected
- Enter any designated sports ground during the period of a designated sporting event
- Search any person reasonably suspected of committing an offence against Sections 19 to 20(8) of the Act
- Seize any container (and its contents) if it is reasonably suspected of containing alcohol, or if it is a controlled container
- Seize any fireworks, etc
- Arrest any person whom they have reasonable cause to suspect has committed an offence against Sections 19 to 20(8) of the Act
Definition of controlled container
A "controlled container" means a container of any description which:
- Is, or was, capable of holding any liquid; and
- Is made from a material which, if the container were to be thrown or propelled at a person, could cause injury to that person
The "period of designated sporting event" commences two hours before the start, or advertised start, and is concluded one hour after the end of the event. This applies to an advertised event even if it is subsequently postponed or cancelled.
Source: Criminal Procedure ( Scotland ) Act 1995 (Go to the Act)
Arrest of persons under 16 years of age
A child under the age of eight years cannot be guilty of a crime or offence in Scotland.
Where a person under 16 years of age is arrested without warrant and cannot be brought before a sheriff forthwith then:
A police officer of or above the rank of Inspector, or the officer in charge of the police station to which the child is brought shall enquire into the case and shall liberate the child on a written undertaking, signed by the child or their parent or guardian, to attend at a hearing of the case certified by the officer unless:
- The charge is homicide or other grave crime, or
- It is necessary to remove the child from associating with reputed criminals or prostitutes, or
- There is reason to believe their release would defeat the ends of Justice;
then they may be detained in a place of safety other than a police office until they are brought before a sheriff.
However, if the officer certifies that:
- It is impracticable to detain them in such a place of safety, or
- The child is so unruly of character that they cannot be safely detained in a place of safety, or
- The child's state of health or mental or bodily condition is such that it is not advisable to detain them in a place of safety;
then they may detain the child in a police office until they can be brought before a sheriff. In such a case the officer submits a written certificate which accompanies the child to the sheriff court. In addition, the Principal Reporter to the Children's Panel must be informed of the circumstances surrounding the case.
Source: Common Law
Offence: To direct an attack to take effect physically on the person of another, whether or not actual injury is inflicted.
Arrest: Common law power of arrest.
There must be criminal intent, an accidental injury does not amount to assault. It is not however necessary that the attack should take effect. An assault can be direct or indirect, e.g. setting a dog at another person. It is also assault to be violently menacing. Threatening gestures inducing a state of bodily fear are an example. An assault may be aggravated by intent; mode of perpetration (e.g. use of a weapon), extent of injury, place of assault, or the character of the person assaulted (e.g. a pregnant woman). Indecent assault is an assault accompanied by indecent intent. In certain cases an assault may be justified by showing that it was done under the authority of the law; in defence of others or in self-defence.
Source: Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, Section 27 (Go to the Act)
Offence: Section 27 - It is offence for an accused who has been granted bail to fail, without reasonable excuse to:
- Appear at the time and place appointed for any (court) diet of which they have been given due notice; or
- comply with any other condition imposed on bail.
Powers: A constable may arrest without warrant, an accused who has been released on bail, if he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the accused has broken, is breaking, or is likely to break any condition imposed on their bail. Section 28.
Source: Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963
A bookmaker is a person, who by way of business, receives bets and is in a position to negotiate the odds. The bookmaker must hold a permit, which must be produced at the request of a constable.
Section 10 -failing to quit a licensed betting office The licensee or any servant or agent thereof may refuse to admit to, or may expel from, the licensed premises any person who is:
- Quarrelsome or disorderly, and if any person liable to be expelled from the licensed premises under this section, when requested by the licensee
- Any servant or agent of the licensee or any constable to leave those premises, fails to do so, commits an offence.
Offence: Section 21 - Young persons - It is an offence to have a betting transaction with, to employ to effect betting transactions, or to receive or negotiate a bet through, a person under the age of 18.
Source: Common law
Offence: When one or more persons conduct themselves in a riotous, or disorderly manner, anywhere, which alarms, annoys or disturbs the lieges (other people).
Arrest: Common law powers of arrest.
This offence can take place anywhere i.e. a house, a public street or a private office.
Riotous: There is normally an element of noise, or 'rowdiness' or 'brawling' which is clearly causing concern to other members of the public e.g. swearing, challenging people to fight.
Disorderly: There is a more subtle element. The behaviour doesn't have to be noisy but still of a nature that would cause concern to other people. Examples include: 'Peeping Tom' type behaviour, persistently following someone, delivering 'threatening' letters and 'streaking' or 'mooning'.
To prove a Breach of the Peace the most important things to prove is that someone was Alarmed, Annoyed or Disturbed by the incident.
Source: Crossbows Act 1987
Section 1 - (Sale): It is an offence for any person to sell or let on hire a crossbow or part of a crossbow to a person under the age of 17.
Section 2 - (Purchase): It is an offence for any person under the age of 17 to buy or hire a crossbow or part of a crossbow.
Section 3 - (Possession): It is an offence for any person under the age of 17 to have with him a crossbow which is capable of discharging a missile, or parts of a crossbow which together can be assembled to form a crossbow capable of discharging a missile.
Source: Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937
Offence: Section 12(1)
If any person who has attained the age of sixteen years and has the custody, charge, or care of any child or young person under that age, wilfully assaults, ill-treats, neglects, abandons, or exposes them, or causes or procures them to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned, or exposed, in a manner likely to cause them unnecessary suffering or injury to health (including injury to or loss of sight, or hearing, or limb, or organ of the body, and any mental derangement), that person shall be guilty of an offence.
Cause death by dangerous driving.
Driving without due care and attention.
- Without the due care and attention, or
- Without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or public place.
Cycling without due care and attention.
Refusing, or giving false name and address.
- The driver of a mechanically propelled vehicle who is alleged to have committed an offence under s.2 or s.3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988; or
- The rider of a cycle who is alleged to have committed an offence under s.28 or s.29.
Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 1
Offence: It is an offence for a person to cause the death of another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or any other public place.
Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 2
Offence: It is an offence for a person to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or any other public place.
Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 3
Offence: It is an offence for a person to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or any other public place:
Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 28
Offence: It is an offence for a person to ride a cycle on a road dangerously.
Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 29
Offence: It is an offence for a person to ride a cycle on a road without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road.
Source: Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 168
Offence: It is an offence for a person who is:
to refuse, on being required by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, to give his name and address, or give a false name or address.
Powers: Section 1 offence is an arrestable offence. The remaining offences are normally by way of summons.
A person driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road must stop the vehicle to do so by a constable in uniform. Section 163, Road Traffic Act 1988.
A person driving a motor vehicle on a road or who, a constable has reasonable cause to believe to have committed an offence in relation to the use of that motor vehicle on a road must, on being required by a constable, produce his licence so as to enable the constable to ascertain the name and address of the holder. Section 164 (1), Road Traffic Act 1988.
A person required by a constable to produce his licence must, on being so required by the constable, state his date of birth. Section 164 (2), Road Traffic Act 1988.
Source: Section 87 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (Go to the Act)
Creates an offence for any person to drive, or cause or permit another person to drive, any class of motor vehicle on a road otherwise than in accordance with a licence authorising them to drive a motor vehicle of that class.
Vehicle classification for driving licences
|Category||Class of Vehicle in Category||Minimum Age|
|A1||Motorcycle not exceeding 125cc and power output not exceeding 11kw.||17|
|A||Motorcycle with or without sidecar.||17|
|B||Motor vehicle, maximum authorised mass not exceeding 3500kg and not more than 8 passenger seats. Can draw a trailer of maximum authorised mass not exceeding 750kg or larger trailer provided the combined weight does not exceed 3500kg and the authorised mass of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle.||17|
|B1||Motor tricycle/quadricycle not exceeding 550kg unladen weight.||17|
|C||Motor vehicle used for the carriage of goods, maximum authorised mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes.||18|
|C1||Motor vehicle used for the carriage of goods, maximum authorised mass exceeding 3500kg but not exceeding 7500kg. Can also draw a trailer of maximum authorised mass 750 kg.||18|
|D||Motor vehicle used for the carriage of passengers with more than 8 passenger seats.||18|
|D1||Motor vehicle used for the carriage of passengers, more than 8 but not more than 16 passenger seats. can also draw a trailer of maximum authorised mass 750kg.||18|
|B+E||Combination of category B vehicle and trailer exceeding 750kg maximum authorised mass.||17|
|C+E||Combination of category C vehicle and a trailer exceeding 750kg maximum authorised mass.||21|
|C1+E||Combination of category C1 vehicle and a trailer exceeding 750kg, the combined weight does not exceed 12000kg and the authorised mass of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle.||21|
|D1+E||Combination of category D1 vehicle and a trailer which exceeds 750kg, the combined weight does not exceed 12000kg and the authorised mass of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle.||21|
|F||Wheeled agricultural tractor||16/17|
|H||Track laying vehicle||21|
|K||Mowing machine or pedestrian controlled vehicle||16|
|L||Electrically propelled vehicle (excluding categories A, K or P)||21|
|N||Vehicles exempted from duty under S.5 Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994||16|
Provisional motorcycle licence -minimum age 17 years
- Basic training (from authorised training body), and
- Certificate of completion of basic training before use on a road
Limitations of provisional motorcycle licence
Motorcycles without sidecars:
- Not exceeding 125cc or maximum power output of 11kW
- No passengers
Motorcycles with sidecars:
- Not exceeding power to weight ratio of 0.16kw per kg
- No passengers
Must take and pass test within 2 years - if not, licence lapses for 1 year.
Provisional licence holders 21 years or over have the option to enter a Direct Access Scheme, which authorises the use of an unrestricted motorcycle on the road.
- No passengers, and
- Must be accompanied (on another motorcycle) by a certified motorcycle in radio contact.
Full motorcycle driving licence
Full motorcycle entitlement authorises:
- Pillion passengers to be carried.
- Higher cc/power output than provisional restrictions depending on class of entitlement.
- Automatic full moped entitlement.
Persons holding full Class A entitlement are limited to motorcycles with a maximum power output of 25kw or a power to weight ratio of 0.16kw per kg for a period of two years unless if over 21 years, they take a further test.
Provisional car licence
If aged 17 years (persons in receipt of a mobility allowance for disability may drive a motor car at 16 years), It authorises.
- Automatic provisional entitlement
- Provisional motorcycle entitlement (only if requested)
Full car licence
Full car entitlement also authorises:
- Full moped entitlement
- Provisional motorcycle entitlement
Conditions of a provisional licence
A provisional licence holder may drive a vehicle of the appropriate category only if they comply with the following conditions:
- L plates must be fitted
- Must not draw a trailer (except agricultural tractors or articulated vehicles)
- Must be under supervision of qualified driver for that category of vehicle (except motorcycles and mopeds)
- Must not drive on a motorway (except categories C and D)
When a provisional licence holder passes the appropriate test, they are issued with a certificate of competence. This permits them to drive the relevant category of vehicle without the above restrictions but does not entitle them to supervise other provisional licence holders.
Supervision of a provisional licence holder
A full driving licence holder may only supervise a learner driver provided the holder is:
- 21 years of age and over
- Has held a full licence for 3 years for that category of vehicle
Source: Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, Section 50
- Any person who, while not in the care or protection of a suitable person, is, in a public place, drunk and incapable of taking care of himself shall be guilty of an offence, and liable on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £50.
- Any person who is drunk in a public place while in charge of a child under the age of 10 shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £50.
- For the purposes of subsection (2) above, if a child appears to the court to be under the age of 10, the child shall be deemed to be under that age unless the contrary is proved.
- A constable may arrest a person for contravening sub-section (2) above if he has reasonable cause to believe that the child in the charge of that person is under the age of 10.
- Any person who is drunk in a public place while in possession of a firearm (including a crossbow, airgun, air rifle or air pistol) shall be guilty of an offence and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £50.
- In this section, "public place" has the same meaning as in Section 133 of this Act but includes:
- any place to which at the material time the public are permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise; and
- any public conveyance other than a taxi or hire car within the meaning of section 23 of this Act.
Section 133: Public Place
"public place" means any place (whether a thoroughfare or not) to which the public have unrestricted access and includes:
- the doorways or entrances of premises abutting on any such place; and
- any common passage, close, court, stair, garden or yard pertinent to any tenement or group pf seperately owned houses.
Section 1 applies to the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentina and Fila Brazlliero.
Source: Dogs Act 1871 (Go to the act)
Section 1(2) creates an offence to:
- breed or breed from a Section 1 dog
- sell or exchange such a dog or offer/advertise/expose such a dog for sale or exchange
- gift or offer to gift or advertise/expose such a dog as a gift .allow such a dog to be in a public place without being muzzled and on a lead
- abandon such a dog or allow it to stray, being the owner or for the time being in charge
Section 1(3) creates the offence of having a specially controlled dog from 30 November 1991, unless it is being held as a result of seizure, destruction order, or is exempted under the Act.
To be exempted under the Act, the following conditions must be met:
- the police have been notified
- the dog has been spayed or neutered
- it has been permanently identified with a tattoo and implanted transponder
- third party insurance is in force
- a fee has been paid
- certificate of exemption has been issued
- all the requirements of the certificate have been complied with
The following conditions must be observed for the exemption to remain valid:
- the dog is kept in secure conditions at home and is unable to escape
- the dog is kept secure in public, i.e. muzzled and on a lead (held by someone aged 16 or over)
- the dog's keeper must show the police or local authority dog warden on request, the certificate of exemption (within 5 days of request) , display the dog's tattoo and allow the transponder to be read
- third party insurance must be kept valid
- the keeper must inform the Index of Exempted Dogs of any change of address at which the dog is kept for more than thirty days
- the keeper must notify the relevant agencies of the death or export of the dog
Dogs dangerously out of control
Section 3(1) creates an offence for the owner/person in charge to allow any dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place,
Section 3(3) creates an offence for the owner/person in charge to allow a dog to enter a private place where it is not permitted to be and while there it injures any person or there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will do so.
Powers of seizure Section 5 gives authority to a constable or local authority dog warden to seize a dog in a public place if it appears the dog is a Section 1 dog and does not comply with exempted conditions or it is a dog which appears dangerously out of control,
The Guard Dogs Act 1975 covers the use of guard dogs on commercial premises, The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 deals with worrying of livestock on agricultural land.
Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 3.
Offence: It is an offence for any person to import or to export a controlled drug.
Powers: Arrestable offence.
Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 4(2).
Offence: It is an offence for a person to produce controlled drug.
Powers: Arrestable offence.
Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 4(3).
Offence: It is an offence for a person:
- to supply or offer to supply a controlled drug to another; or
- to be concerned in the supplying of such a drug to another; or
- to be concerned in the making to another of an offer to supply such a drug.
Powers: Arrestable offence.
Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 5(2).
Offence: It is an offence for a person to have a controlled drug in their possession.
Powers: Arrestable offence. If possession is of a Class C drug then proceeding should be by way of a summons.
Possession with intent to supply
Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 5(3).
Offence: It is an offence for a person to have a controlled drug in their posession, whether lawful or not, with intent to supply it to another.
Powers: Arrestable offence.
Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 6.
Offence: It is an offence for a person to cultivate any plant of the genus cannabis.
Powers: Arrestable offence.
Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 8.
Offence: It is an offence for a person, being the occupier or concerned in the management of any premises, to knowingly permit or suffer any:
- production or attempted production of a controlled drug;
- supply, attempt to supply or offer to supply, of a controlled drug;
- preparation of opium for smoking;
- smoking of cannabis, cannabis resin or prepared opium.
Powers: Arrestable offence.
Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 9.
Offence: It is an offence for a person:
- to smoke or otherwise use prepared opium; or
- to frequent a place used for the purpose of opium smoking; or
- to have in their possession:
- any pipes or other utensils made or adapted for use in connection with the smoking of opium, being pipes or utensils which have been used by him or with his knowledge and permission in that connection or which he intends to use or permit another to use in that connection; or
- any utensils which have been used by him or with his knowledge and permission in connection with the preparation of opium for smoking.
Powers: Arrestable offence.
Supply or offer to supply article
Source: The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Section 9A.
Offence: It is an offence for a person to supply or offer to supply any article which may be used or adapted to be used in the administration by any person of a controlled drug to himself or another; or which may be used to prepare a controlled drug for administration by any person to himself or another believing that the article is to be so used in circumstances where the administration is unlawful.
Powers: Proceedings should normally be by way of a summons.
- Source: Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 Section 29(1)
Offence: It is an offence for a person to use or keep, on a public road a vehicle (not being an exempt vehicle) which is unlicensed.
- Source: Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 Section 33(1)
Offence: It is an offence for a person to use or keep, on a public road a vehicle in respect of which vehicle excise duty is chargeable, and there is not fixed to and exhibited on the vehicle in the manner prescribed a licence for, or in respect of, the vehicle which is for the time being in force.
- Source: Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 Section 37(1)
Offence: It is an offence where:
- a vehicle licence has been taken out for a vehicle at any rate of vehicle excise duty,
- at any time while the licence is in force the vehicle is so used that duty at a higher rate becomes chargeable in respect of the license for the vehicle, and
- duty at that higher rate is not paid before the vehicle was so used.
- Source: Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 Section 44(1)
Offence: It is an offence for a person to forge, fraudulently alter, fraudulently use, fraudulently lend or fraudulently allow to be used by another person a vehicle licence.
- Source: Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 Section 45(1)
Offence: It is an offence for a person in connection with an application for a vehicle licence or a claim for a rebate to make any declaration which to his knowledge is either false or in any material respect misleading.
Source: Firearms Act 1968
Definition of a firearm: A lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged, and includes any 'prohibited weapon', whether lethal barrelled or not, any component part of such a lethal or prohibited weapon and any accessory to such weapons which are designed or adapted to diminish the sound or flash caused by firing the weapon.
Section 1 firearm/ammunition - Under 14 years
Possession of firearm/ammunition only in the following circumstances:
- gun bearer
- member of rifle club
- shooting gallery calibre n/e .23"
- member of a cadet corps when engaged in target or drill practice
- No gift or loan of firearm permitted.
14- 17 years
- as above
- under authority of firearm certificate
- A firearm may be gifted or loaned.
Shotgun/ammunition - Under 15 years
Must hold a shotgun certificate. If shotgun is assembled:
- person must be supervised by a person 21 or over, or
- the gun is covered in a gun cover
- No gift of shotgun permitted.
15 years and over
Shotgun certificate required. Shotgun may be gifted or loaned.
Under 14 years
- public place (not air pistol), covered and supervised
- private premises -supervised
- member of rifle club
- at shooting gallery
No gift permitted.
14 -17 years
As above but no supervision required. May be gifted or loaned.
May now purchase or hire any firearm or ammunition and possess an air pistol in a public place.
Section 19 of the Firearms Act 1968, makes it an offence to have in any public place, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse (the proof whereof shall lie with him/her) any of the following:
- A loaded shotgun
- A loaded air weapon
- Any other firearm loaded, or unloaded if the person also has suitable ammunition in his/her possession
Section 20 of the Act creates an offence for any person, in possession of a firearm, to trespass onto any land or buildings, without reasonable excuse (the proof whereof shall lie with him/her)
It is a crime at common law for any person to recklessly discharge a firearm, whether or not actual injury is caused.
Source: Common Law
There is no succinct definition to embrace all the criminal forms of cheating. However, if the following three elements are present in a cheat the crime of fraud is complete.
False representations by words, or writing or conduct.
Intention to deceive or defraud
The cheat designed has been successful to extent of gaining benefit or advantage, or of prejudicing or tending to prejudice the interests of another person.
1) Source: Gaming Act 1968 Section 31
Their are 2 types of machines for the practical purpose of this act.
Jackpot Machines Section 31
These may only be used on premises which are licensed or registered under the Act for the purpose of gaming or gaming machines.
There is a 25p limit to the charge for one playing the machines.
There is no limit to the maximum prize which may be won, but it must be by way of coins from the machine.
There must be a statement on the machines specifying the prize(s) which may be won and the percentage payout.
The machines may not be used in the premises on any occasion when the public are admitted whether on payment or otherwise.
Not more than two machines may be available on the premises unless authorised under section 32, in which case the provisions of section 34 must be complied with instead of those above.
Amusements with Prizes Section 34
These may only be used on premises for which a permit has been granted.
On licensed or registered premises where this type of machine has been opted for instead of jackpot machines.
On premises used as a pleasure fair for which a permit has been granted.
At a traveling showmen's pleasure fair.
There is a 25p limit to the charge for one playing the machine.
Prizes are restricted to one of the following:
Money prize not exceeding £4.00 or tokens exchangeable for such amount.
Non-money prize not exceeding £8.00 or tokens exchangeable for such non-money prize.
A mixture of money and non-money prizes which do not exceed the above amounts.
Tokens which can be either used to play further games or be exchanged as above.
Jackpot machines, amusement with prizes machines, or any other type of machine may be used at non-commercial entertainment if not on premises licensed or registered under the Act, without further authority and without limits on numbers or prizes. This would apply to bazaars, fetes, dinners, dances, etc, whether limited to one day or extended over two or more days. In these cases the whole of the proceeds after deducting expenses must be devoted to other than private gain. Section 33.
Source: Common Law
Any person who publicly exposes the private parts of their body in a shameless and indecent manner in the presence of the lieges commits a crime at common law.
There must be a lewd and indecent intention, mere carelessness is not criminal.
Although the definition uses the term "any person", generally speaking, only males are charged with this crime. A female who exposes the private parts of her body could competently be reported for a breach of the peace, lewd practices or shameless indecency, depending upon the circumstances.Powers: Common law power of arrest.
Source: Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976
Subject to the provisions of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976, the permitted hours in licensed premises, licensed canteens and registered clubs shall be: -
Weekdays: 11,00 am until 11,00 PM
Sundays 12.30 PM until 2,30 PM 6.30 PM until 11.00 PM
Premises for which a public house licence is in force may only open on a Sunday between the above times provided an application has been made to, and granted by, a Licensing Board.
Extended hours in
relation to meals: -
Weekdays: 11.00 PM to 1.00 AM
Sundays 12.30 PM to 4.00 PM 5.00 PM to 1.00 am
Other types of extension exist and must be approved by the Licensing Board.
following separate permitted hours apply to premises with an off-sale licence: -
Weekdays: 8.00 am to 10.00 PM Sundays: 12.30 PM to 10.00 PM
Period of grace
At the conclusion of permitted hours, whether extended or not, persons in a hotel or public house may continue to consume alcoholic liquor for a period of 15 minutes, provided that the liquor was purchased and supplied before the conclusion of permitted hours. Similarly, a 'carry out' purchased from such a hotel or public house may be taken away during that 15 minute period, provided that it was purchased during permitted hours. Liquor purchased ancillary to a meal may be consumed up to 30 minutes after the conclusion of permitted hours.
Source: Common Law
Malicious mischief consists in the wilful, wanton, and malicious destruction of, or damage to, the property of another person. There must be malice, either actual or inferred, on the part of the perpetrator, as destruction or damage caused by accident, or under a reasonable belief of right, is not criminal.
Injuring growing trees, killing or maiming animals and running to waste any liquid or substance are examples of malicious mischief. The damaging or destruction of property which one has originally stolen is not malicious mischief.
One main difference between this and the offence of vandalism is that with vandalism there must be damage to actual property, whereas with malicious mischief, financial damage brought about by a criminal act would suffice.
If property is damaged and the value of damage is high it may be more relevant to libel this common law crime than vandalism.
Powers: Common law power of arrest.
Source: Matrimonial Homes Family Protection (
This section declares a general right of occupancy for spouses who have no
individual title to the matrimonial home. Previously, a spouse who was the
owner or tenant of the matrimonial home could eject the other spouse at any
time. Now the "non-entitled spouse" has the occupancy rights set out
within Section 1, ie the right to occupy or to enter and occupy the
matrimonial home, together with any child of the family. As these are
statutory rights, attempts to evade them can be criminal offences under
Section 22, Rent (
If the "entitled spouse" refuses to allow the "non-entitled spouse" to exercise the occupancy right shown above, the "non-entitled spouse" may exercise that right only with the leave of the court under Section 3(3) or (4) of this Act.
Exclusion orders Where there is an "entitled" and a "non-entitled spouse", or where both spouses are entitled, or permitted by a third party, to occupy a matrimonial home, either spouse whether or not that spouse is in occupation at the time of the application may apply to the court for an order (in this Act referred to as "an exclusion order") suspending the occupancy rights of the other spouse ("the non-applicant spouse") in a matrimonial home.
The court may attach a power of arrest to any matrimonial interdict, which is ancillary to an exclusion order. Although the Section 15 power of arrest specifies that a constable 'may' arrest the offending spouse, the Lord Advocate has directed that an offending spouse will be arrested in all but the most trivial cases.
A copy of the interdict and attached power of arrest, together with copies of the Application and Service of Interdict, must be forwarded to the Chief Constable after service on the non- applicant spouse. A Section 15 power of arrest will not be carried out unless this has been done.Section 15 does not prevent the police from using any other power of arrest at common law or other statute.
1) Source: The Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995. (Go to the Act)
Any person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, the proof whereof shall lie with him/them, has with him/them, in any public place any offensive weapon shall be guilty of an offence.
Lawful Authority - Their possession was lawful, e.g. a soldier with a bayonet on duty.
Reasonable Excuse - Under all of the circumstances their possession was reasonable.
Public Place - Includes any road and any other premises or place to which at the material time the public have or are permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise.Offensive Weapon - Includes any article made or adapted for the use of causing injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with them for such use by either themselves or by some other person.
Where a constable has reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person is carrying an offensive weapon they may search that person without warrant and detain them for such time is reasonably required to permit the search to be carried out and they shall inform the person of the reason for such detention.
Any person who intentionally obstructs a constable in the exercise of these powers or actively conceals from a constable acting in the exercise of these powers an offensive weapon commits an offence. The constable may arrest without warrant any person who they have reason to believe has committed this offence.
Creates the offence to have in a public place a bladed or sharply pointed article. (Bladed article excludes a folding pocket knife with a blade cutting edge not exceeding 3 inches.)
Creates an offence for any person to have with them on school premises an offensive weapon, bladed or sharply pointed article. (School premises exclude land occupied solely as a dwelling by an employee at the school.)
A constable may enter school premises and search those premises for knives, pointed articles and offensive weapons if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting an offence has been committed. (A constable may use reasonable force if necessary in the exercise of the power of entry conferred and may seize any articles found during the search.)
Any person who intentionally obstructs a constable in the exercise of these powers or actively conceals from a constable acting in the exercise of those powers an offensive weapon commits an offence. (A constable may arrest without warrant any person who they have reason to believe has committed or is committing an offence as detailed.)
Where a constable has reasonable grounds for suspecting that any person is carrying an offensive weapon they may search that person without warrant, and detain them for such time as is reasonably required to permit the search to be carried out, and they shall inform the person of the reason for such detention.
Obstruction of search
Any person who intentionally obstructs a constable in the exercise of these powers, or actively conceals from a constable acting in the exercise of those powers an offensive weapon, commits an offence.
Source: Public Order Act 1986
A public assembly means an assembly of 20 or more persons In a public place which is wholly or partly open to the air, and to which a section of the public are permitted access (by payment or otherwise) at the material time. The most senior police officer present may impose conditions on those public assemblies which are likely to cause serious disorder or intimidation.
Offences and arrest
Section 14 makes it an offence for the organiser of the assembly, or any person present, to knowingly fail to comply with any conditions imposed by the police. It is also an offence to incite any persons taking part to fail to comply with such conditions.
Any constable in uniform may arrest, without warrant, persons reasonably suspected of committing offences under Section 14 of the Act.
Source: Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
All public processions are subject to controls of the Regional or Islands Council, and in some circumstances to the control of the police. The council may prohibit or impose conditions upon the procession.
Section 65 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 creates the following offences in relation to public processions: -
offence for the organiser of a procession to hold a public procession in
contravention of an order prohibiting it, or in contravention of conditions
imposed by such an order
2) an offence for any persons to take part in such an unlawful procession, but only if they refuse to desist on being required to do so by a constable in uniform
A constable may arrest any person reasonably suspected of committing an offence against Section 65 of the Act. If the arresting officers are not in uniform, they must produce identification if required.
Source: Public Meeting Act 1908
Section 1 of this Act creates an offence for any person attending at a public meeting to act in a disorderly manner for the purpose of preventing the transaction of the business of the meeting, or to incite others to commit such an offence.
The police may enter private premises where a public meeting is being held only at the request of the promoter or if there are reasonable grounds for believing that a breach of the peace is likely to occur.
The police may only take action to deal with offenders at the request of the chairman. Thereafter a constable may require the offender to give their name and address and report them for summons. If the offender refuses or is suspected of giving a false name and address, they may be arrested without warrant. Nothing under this Act prevents the police from taking action against offenders under the Public Order Act 1986 or at common law.
Source: Common Law
It is an offence for any person, with intent to deprive the owner, to receive and keep property knowing that it has been appropriated by theft, robbery, embezzlement or fraud.
Reset can only be committed by a person who was not a party to the original appropriation.
To establish the crime of reset, It is essential to prove guilty knowledge that the property has been dishonestly obtained. Guilty knowledge may be inferred from the circumstances in which the property was received or retained. The guilty knowledge need not be simultaneous with the receiving. It is not reset for a wife to receive or conceal property merely to screen the criminal act of her husband.Powers: Common law power of arrest.
Source: Common Law
Robbery is the felonious appropriation of property by means of violence or threats of violence.
Violence or threats of violence are an essential element of robbery, and must have been used with theftuous intent.The appropriation of the property must be simultaneous with the violence used or threatened.
Meaning of the Term "Road"
Source: Section 151, Roads (Scotland) Act 1984
Definition: - Any way (other than a waterway) over which there is a public right of passage (by whatever means and whether subject to a toll or not) and includes the road’s verge and any bridge (whether permanent or temporary) over which, or tunnel through which, the road passes, and any reference to a road includes a part thereof.
The term "public road" as defined for the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 means a road which a Roads Authority has a duty to maintain.
Meaning of the Term "Motor Vehicle"
Source: Section 185, Road Traffic Act 1988 (Go to the Act)
A mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on roads.
NB No definition exists for a mechanically propelled vehicle. The term "mechanically propelled" includes all types of fuelled propulsion e.g. petrol, gas, electricity. Whether a mechanically propelled vehicle is a motor vehicle relies on the test whether it is intended or adapted for use on a road.
Warning of Intended Prosecution
Source: Section 1 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988
The following traffic offences require that in order to convict a driver they must be warned that prosecution is likely
Road Traffic Act 1988
Section 2 -dangerous driving
Section 3 careless driving
Section 22 -dangerous parking.
Section 28 -dangerous cycling
Section 29 -careless cycling
Section 35 -failing to comply with traffic directions
Section 36 -failing to comply with traffic signs Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
Section 16 -ignoring temporary traffic prohibition
Section 17(4) -speeding on motorways
Section 88(7) -driving below minimum speed limits
Section 89 -general speeding offences
required under Section 1 must be given in one of
the following ways: -
1) At the time of the offence
2) By service of 'Notice of Intended Prosecution' within 14 days
3) Service of copy complaint within 14 days
The most common way is at the time and should be administered as follows: -
"You will be reported for consideration of the question of a prosecution under (insert relevant sections)"
A common law caution should also be given and it is vital that you ensure that the accused person understands the terms of the warning.
Road Accidents -Duty to Stop, Furnish Particulars and Report
Source: Section 170(2) Road Traffic Act 1988
A driver of
a mechanically propelled vehicle involved in a reportable road accident must:
2) Supply, if required, the following details: -
a) Driver's name and address;
b) Vehicle owners name and address;
c) Vehicle identification mark.
A reportable road accident is one in which personal injury is caused to a person other than the driver, or damage is caused to another vehicle or other property. In addition if injury is caused to an animal (horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig or dog) other than carried by that vehicle it is also a reportable accident.
Source: Section 170(6) Road Traffic Act 1988
If for any reason the driver does not give their name and address as above they must report the accident in person at a police station or personally to a police constable as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case within 24hrs.
Source: Section 170(5) Road Traffic Act 1988
In the case of a reportable road accident, which involves personal injury to another person, the driver must produce their certificate of insurance at the time of the accident to a constable or to any person having reasonable grounds for requiring it.
Source: Section 5 Road Traffic Act 1988
Offence: for any person to drive, attempt to drive or be in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place having consumed alcohol in such quantity that the proportion of alcohol in their breath, blood, or urine, exceeds the prescribed limit.
Power to require breath specimen
Source: Section 6 Road Traffic Act 1988
in uniform may require a person who is or has been driving, attempting to
drive, or in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, to
supply a specimen of breath for a breath test if they have reasonable cause to
1) The person has alcohol in their body
2) The person has committed a moving traffic offence
3) The person was involved in a road traffic accident (uniform not required)
Power to require specimen for analysis
Source: Section 7
Road Traffic Act 1988
Empowers a constable to require two specimens of breath for analysis or specimen of blood or urine for laboratory analysis. Offence to fail to supply a specimen of breath, blood or urine, without reasonable excuse.
Driving whilst unfit through
drink or drugs
Source: Section 4 Road Traffic Act 1988
Creates an offence for any person to drive, attempt to drive, or be in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place whilst unfit through drink or drugs.
Section 4 offence is normally only used if drugs are suspected or when the suspect is so drunk that they would be unlikely to understand or co-operate with the police, even if they wished to.
Power of arrest is unconditional - a constable may arrest without warrant if they have reasonable cause to suspect that person has committed an offence under Section 4.
Theft is the taking and appropriating of property without the consent of its rightful owner or other lawful authority.
Dishonest intent to deprive owner.
Appropriation to the thief’s use.
Where property is taken under a claim of right made in good faith or under a reasonable belief that owner had granted permission - it is not theft.
Attempt to Steal
Although theft cannot be completed unless the thief obtains possession of property, an attempt to commit the crime may be proved independently of any transfer of property, or indeed, of there being any property to transfer. For example, a pickpocket putting his hand inhto an empty pocket with the intention of stealing commits the crime of attempted theft.
Aggravations of Theft
Is not by itself a crime - there must be in addition an intention to steal.
The term ‘house’ applies to any dwelling house and any other roofed building, finished or unfinished, or to any part of a building used as a separate dwelling, which is secured against intrusion by unauthorised persons.
Occurs whenever the security of a ‘house’ is overcome and an article is abstracted or removed from the purpose of being carried off. The thief need not physically enter the building, the theft is complete, for example, if he draws an article towards him with an implement even though he does not lay hands on the article.
Intent to Steal
Occurs when a person breaks into a ‘house’ with the intention of stealing property from therein. The felonious purpose is inferred from the circumstances in which the building was entered.
Attempted Housebreaking with Intent to Steal
Occurs when a person attempts to break-in to a ‘house’ with the intention of stealing property
The felonious intent is inferred from the circumstances.
Being in building, etc intending to commit theft.
Source: Section 57, Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
Offence: It is an offence for any person who without lawful authority to be there, to be found in or on a building, or, other premises whether enclosed or not, or its curtilage, or in a vehicle or vessel, so that in all the circumstances, it may be reasonably inferred that he intended to commit theft there. Theft includes any aggravation of theft including robbery. See Section 59, for power of arrest.
Convicted Thief in Possession
Source: Section 58, Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
Offence: Any person who has two or more (non spent) convictions for theft commits an offence if he has or has recently had in his possession any tool or other object, the possession of which may reasonably be inferred that he has committed theft or intended to commit theft and is unable to demonstrate satisfactorily that his possession of the tool or object, is or was not for the purposes of committing theft. Theft includes any aggravation of theft including robbery. See Section 59, for power of arrest.
Source: Section 59, Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
A constable may, where the interests of justice finds it necessary, arrest without warrant a person committing offences under Sections 57, 58 and 60 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.
A constable not in uniform, must produce his identification if required to do so by the person he is arresting.
The owner, tenant or occupier of property in respect of which an offence under the Act is being committed or any person authorised by the owner, tenant or occupier of such premises may apprehend any person committing the offence and detain them until delivered into the custody of the police.
Source: Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, Section 47
Offence: Any person who urinates or defecates in such circumstances as to cause, or to be likely to cause, annoyance to any other person shall be guilty of an offence, and liable on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £50.
Source: Section 52, Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 (Go to the Act)
Any person who, without reasonable excuse, willfully or recklessly destroys or damages any property belonging to another shall be guilty of the offence of vandalism. There must be either a deliberate intention to damage the property or an act so reckless as to show utter disregard for the consequences. This statutory charge of vandalism is used when property is damaged in the vast majority of cases. If the value is particularly high however, the common law crime of malicious mischief may be more competent as punishment can be greater. Attempted vandalism may be a competent charge if there has not been damage or destruction of property.Powers: The Act is silent in relation to power of arrest for vandalism.
Police Scottish Legislation
More details of Police Scottish Legislation can be found above.