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Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019

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54Questioning of child in urgent cases

(1)This section applies where a constable has reasonable grounds to suspect that—

(a)a child, while under 12 years of age, by behaving in a violent or dangerous way, has caused or risked causing serious physical harm to another person, and

(b)there is a risk of loss of life if the child is not questioned immediately.

(2)The constable may, in so far as necessary to prevent loss of life, question the child about the child’s behaviour and the circumstances surrounding it if authorised to do so by a relevant senior officer under subsection (3).

(3)The relevant senior officer may authorise the constable to question the child as mentioned in subsection (2) only if that officer is satisfied that—

(a)there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the child, while under 12 years of age, by behaving in a violent or dangerous way, has caused or risked causing serious physical harm to another person,

(b)questioning of the child is necessary to properly investigate the child’s behaviour and the circumstances surrounding it (including whether a person other than the child has committed an offence), and

(c)it is not practicable to apply for a child interview order authorising an investigative interview of the child because there is a risk of loss of life if the child is not questioned immediately.

(4)In considering the matters mentioned in subsection (3), the relevant senior officer must have regard to—

(a)the nature and seriousness of the child’s behaviour,

(b)whether the questioning of the child is appropriate given the child’s circumstances (including the child’s age and any matter related to the child’s behaviour).

(5)A child in respect of whom authorisation under subsection (3) is granted is not required to answer questions during the questioning authorised by that subsection.

(6)In this section, a “relevant senior officer” is an officer of the rank of superintendent or above.

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