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(1)A person who assaults, obstructs or hinders another while that other person is, in a capacity mentioned in subsection (3) below, responding to emergency circumstances, commits an offence.
(2)No offence is committed under subsection (1) above unless the person who assaults, obstructs or hinders knows or ought to know that the person being assaulted, obstructed or hindered—
(a)is acting in that capacity; and
(b)is or might be responding—
(i)to emergency circumstances; or
(ii)as if there were emergency circumstances.
(3)The capacity referred to in subsection (1) above is—
(a)that of a prison officer, that is to say—
(i)a person who holds a post, otherwise than as a medical officer, to which the person has been appointed for the purposes of section 3(1A) of the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989 (c. 45); or
(ii)a prisoner custody officer within the meaning of Chapter II of Part VIII of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (c. 33);
(b)that of a member of Her Majesty's Coastguard;
(c)that of a member of the crew of a vessel operated by—
(i)the Royal National Lifeboat Institution; or
(ii)any other person or organisation operating a vessel for the purpose of providing a rescue service on a body of water,
or a person who musters the crew of such a vessel or attends to its launch;
(d)that of a registered medical practitioner;
(e)that of a registered nurse;
(f)that of a registered midwife;
(g)that of a social worker, within the meaning given by section 77(1) of the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 (asp 8), while taking action required or permitted by—
(i)a child protection order; or
(ii)an authorisation under section 61 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (c. 36) (emergency protection of children where child protection order not available); or
(h)that of a mental health officer, that is to say—
(i)a mental health officer within the meaning given by section 32(1) of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 (asp 13); or
(ii)until section 32(1) of that Act (appointment and deemed appointment of mental health officers) comes into force, a mental health officer within the meaning given by section 125 of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984 (c. 36).
(4)For the purposes of this section and section 3 of this Act, a person is responding to emergency circumstances if the person—
(a)is going anywhere for the purpose of dealing with emergency circumstances occurring there; or
(b)is dealing with emergency circumstances or preparing to do so.
(5)For the purposes of this Act, circumstances are “emergency” circumstances if they are present or imminent and—
(a)are causing or are likely to cause—
(i)serious injury to or the serious illness (including mental illness) of a person;
(ii)serious harm to the environment (including the life and health of plants and animals and the fabric of buildings); or
(iii)a worsening of any such injury, illness or harm; or
(b)are likely to cause the death of a person.
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Text created by the Scottish Executive department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills
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