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Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012

Part 3 – General

137.Part 3 of the Act makes a number of general provisions common to Parts 1 and 2 of the Act. Section 124 requires the Scottish Parliament to make arrangements for keeping under review the operation of the Act, and to publish reports accordingly. Section 125 sets out the arrangements for subordinate legislation under Parts 1 and 2. Sections 126 and 127 allow the Scottish Ministers to make ancillary and transitional provisions by order to give full effect to the Act. Section 128 inserts schedules 7 and 8 which makes minor and consequential amendments and repeals to other legislation as a consequence of the provisions of this Act. The majority of the changes fall into the following categories:

  • changing references in legislation to the current 8 police forces or chief constables to refer to the Police Service of Scotland and its chief constable;

  • changing references to Police Authorities and Joint Police Boards to refer to the SPA;

  • removing references to the SPSA and SCDEA;

  • changing references to fire authorities and joint fire boards to refer to the SFRS; and

  • making changes to legislation relevant to public bodies, to reflect the establishment of the SFRS and the changes made to the PIRC, Inspectors of Constabulary and Inspectors of the SFRS. (The equivalent changes in respect of the SPA are made in Schedule 1.)

138.A number of more significant changes are highlighted below:

  • Paragraph 1 of Schedule 7 makes a minor amendment to sections 32A and 42 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967. These provisions, which relate to grant expenditure on national security and an offence of causing disaffection, cannot be repealed and re-enacted in this Act as they are reserved to the UK Government;

  • Paragraph 15 makes amendments to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000 to ensure the authorisation of intrusive surveillance works effectively in a single service and also to give the PIRC the necessary surveillance powers it requires to carry out covert investigations if required. Similar changes are made to the Police Act 1997 in relation to interference with property or wireless telegraphy;

  • Paragraph 33 makes a number of amendments to Chapter 2 of the Police Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 to reflect the single service and the SPA. The amendments also insert provisions allowing the PIRC to appoint staff officers and to designate any member of staff to take charge of, or assist with, investigations. Two order making powers are included in the amendments: one allowing the Scottish Ministers to apply any provision of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act or other enactments relating to constables to PIRC staff; and the other allowing the Scottish Ministers to apply any enactment relating to investigation of offences by constables to investigations carried out by PIRC’s designated staff;

  • Paragraph 68 makes a number of minor amendments to the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 to replace references to “a relevant authority” with the SFRS. Sub-paragraphs (15) and (16) relate to the fire framework, and require Scottish Ministers to consult SFRS, representatives of employees of SFRS, representatives of local authorities and such other persons as they consider appropriate when preparing the framework document.

  • An entry in Part 1 of schedule 8 repeals the definition of “constable” from the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, as well as other police terms which are no longer required. The effect of this is that, in future Scottish legislation, “constable” will include officers of any police force operating in Scotland, such as British Transport Police, unless otherwise defined.

139.Section 129 deals with commencement of the provisions in the Act, including that certain sections of the Act are to be commenced the day after Royal Assent, to facilitate the early appointment of the Chairs of the SPA and SFRS and senior officers.

140.Section 130 provides that the short title of the Act is the Police and Fire (Reform) Scotland Act 2012.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government 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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