Scotland politics

Police body tells MSPs of justice system change concerns

Police representatives have told MSPs that they are concerned about changes to the criminal justice system.

The overhaul would see the end of corroboration and a 12-hour maximum time that anyone could be detained in police custody without charge.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) addressed its concerns to Holyrood's justice committee.

It believed corroboration is necessary and is worried about the policy custody detention time.

MSPs are currently examining the Scottish government's Criminal Justice Bill which includes provisions for arrests, custody and access to solicitors, among wider changes to Scots law.

In a written submission to the justice committee, the SPF said changes to the general power of arrest may appear straightforward but would have significant training and cost implications.

The federation added: "Blanket removal of corroboration would risk exposing police officers to more spurious and malicious allegations which would be harder to refute and similarly so for every other member of the public."

Its submission concluded: "Whilst supportive of some of the proposals laid out in the bill, we believe that some have significant practical, cost and resourcing implications not just for the police service but also for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the courts.

"We are not convinced that there will be significant benefits from the introduction of these proposals and, when balanced against the costs and other implications, believe that their introduction may cause significant difficulties for all partners in the criminal justice system and require much more detailed analysis before progression."

Calum Steele, general secretary of the SPF which represents about 16,500 officers, took part in the meeting of the committee.

He was joined by Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham.

MSPs also heard from David Harvie, director of serious casework at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and members of the Law Society of Scotland, Glasgow Bar Association and Faculty of Advocates.

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