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Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019

Chapter 2: Search of children under 12

Changes made by the Act: impact on pre-existing law of change in age of criminal responsibility

115.As a result of raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12, statutory search powers that depend on a person being suspected of an offence will no longer apply in relation to the suspected behaviour of children between the ages of eight and 11. Search powers that do not depend on the person having committed an offence will still apply to children below the age of criminal responsibility to the extent that they currently apply.(58)

116.Powers to search persons not in police custody otherwise than on suspicion of an offence will be unaffected, however, and will continue to apply to the extent that they apply currently.(59)


For example, section 60(1) and (4) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.


Such as section 67 of the 2016 Act.

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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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