News In Focus
Serious crime prevention orders proposed for Scotland
Serious crime prevention orders are to be adopted in Scotland as a means of disrupting the activities of those engaged in organised crime, the Scottish Government has announced.
The orders are civil orders aimed at preventing criminal activities by imposing conditions or restrictions on a individual's movements and transactions, for example working arrangements or financial, property or business dealings, as well as communications with others. They would be introduced alongside improved data sharing between the public and private sectors, and new offences relating to encouraging or assisting a criminal act.
Similar orders have been available in the rest of the UK for over five years, under the Serious Crime Act 2007. At the time the Act was passed, the Scottish Government decided to consider the effectiveness of SCPOs elsewhere in the UK, before deciding whether to introduce them in Scotland – though it is already an offence for anyone to breach an existing serious crime prevention order in Scotland.
Ministers now believe that experience in England & Wales has shown that these orders make it harder for criminals to carry out illegal activities, and easier for law enforcement agencies to intervene at an early stage when a breach of an order has been found. Orders would be "highly targeted and used for a relatively small number of individuals/organisations".
A short, six week consultation now published asks for views on the types of conditions that might be attached to a SCPO, the situations where a SCPO might be used, and what account should be taken of the potential impact on third parties such as family members.
The closing date for responses is 31 October 2013.