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Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003

Section 76 – Police custody and security officers

418.Section 76 amends the Police (Scotland) Act 1967 (“the 1967 Act”) to give statutory powers to certain civilian support staff who are to be employed by police authorities. The section also provides for police authorities to contract out the employment of such staff.

419.Subsection (2)(a) amends section 9(1) of the 1967 Act to provide that as well as employing civilian staff directly a police authority may appoint civilian staff on a contracted out basis.

420.Subsection (2)(b) inserts a new subsection (1A) in section 9 of the 1967 Act to provide that such staff as are employed or appointed and who hold a certificate that they are authorised to perform certain functions are to be known as “police custody and security officers”. It also inserts a new subsection (1B) which provides that the powers of the police custody and security officers are to be as set out in section 9(1C) and their duties as are mentioned in section 9(1E). Subsection (1B) excludes police custody and security officers provided under a contract by virtue of subsection (1)(b) of section 9 of the 1967 Act from exercising the powers and duties in the premises of any court or in land connected with such premises.   This means that only non-court elements of PCSO functions can be contracted out.  PCSO functions in and around court premises are to be carried out by employees of the police authority.

421.Subsection (3) inserts a new section 9A into the 1967 Act to provide for the certification of police custody and security officers. It gives chief constables power to issue a certificate as detailed in section 9(1A) (inserted by subsection (2)(b)). Such a certificate can only be given if the chief constable is satisfied that the person is a suitable person for the job and has received sufficient training to enable them to perform their functions. The chief constable can revoke the certificate if these conditions are not satisfied, and suspend the certificate pending consideration of whether it should be revoked.

422.Subsection (3) also inserts a new section 9B into the 1967 Act to make it an offence for a person to make a statement which they know to be false, or to recklessly make a statement that is false, for the purpose of obtaining a certificate.

423.Subsection (4) amends section 39 of the 1967 Act to provide that police custody and security officers are treated in the same way as constables in relation to wrongful acts or omissions carried out by them as set out in this section, although this is subject to any agreement made as part of the contract for that persons services where the employment of that person has been contracted out by the police authority.

424.Subsections (5) to (8) make amendments to sections 41, 43, 44 and 45 of the 1967 Act respectively to ensure that police custody and security officers are dealt with in the same way as constables in relation to various matters arising from or connected with their employment. These are:

  • assaults on constables etc.;

  • impersonation etc.;

  • offences by constables;

  • warrant to search for police accoutrements and clothing.

425.Subsection (10) amends section 102(5) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to provide for police custody and security officers carrying out functions in compliance with warrants and orders, in place of persons on whom the obligation to perform the function was originally placed by the warrant or order.

426.Subsection (11) amends section 307(1) of the 1995 Act to amend the definition of an “officer of the law” to include police custody and security officers.

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