Police (Scotland) Act 1956

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1956 c. 26


Police (Scotland) Act, 1956

(4 & 5 Eliz. 2) 26

An Act to consolidate with amendments certain enactments relating to police forces in Scotland and to the execution of warrants in the border counties of England and Scotland.

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Police Forces and Police Authorities

Police Forces and Police Authorities

S-1 Police areas for which police forces are to be maintained.

1 Police areas for which police forces are to be maintained.

(1) Subject to the provisions of any amalgamation scheme a police force shall be maintained for every county in Scotland and for every burgh mentioned in the First Schedule to this Act, and the provisions of this Act shall have effect in relation to any police force so maintained and to the constables thereof.

(2) If at any time a burgh not mentioned in the said First Schedule has, according to the last published census, a population of not less than fifty thousand, the town council of the burgh may apply to the sheriff for an order establishing a separate police force for the burgh, and on any such application the sheriff, on being satisfied that the population of the burgh is as aforesaid, shall make an order accordingly.

(3) An order under the last foregoing subsection may include such transitory and consequential provisions, and such provision as to the expenses of the application, as the sheriff may think fit.

(4) Upon the making of an order under subsection (2) of this section this Act shall (subject to any such provisions as are mentioned in the last preceding subsection) have effect as if the burgh to which the order relates were mentioned in the said First Schedule.

(5) Subject to the provisions of this Act relating to amalgamation schemes any reference in any enactment including this Act to a police area or police district shall be construed as a reference to an area for which a police force falls to be maintained in pursuance of this section, or would apart from the said provisions fall to be so maintained, and shall include a reference to the territorial waters, if any, adjacent to such area.

(6) Any reference in any enactment including this Act to the chief constable or another constable of, or appointed for, any area or district shall be construed as a reference to the chief constable or another constable, as the case may be, of the police force maintained for the police area comprising that area or district.

(7) In this section ‘sheriff’ does not include ‘sheriff-substitute’.

S-2 Police authorities.

2 Police authorities.

2. For every police area which is a burgh, the town council, and for every police area which is a county, the county council, shall be the police authority and, subject to the provisions of any amalgamation scheme, shall have in relation to that area, and to the police force maintained for that area or for any combined area comprising that area, the powers and duties conferred or imposed upon police authorities by this Act.

S-3 Establishments of police forces.

3 Establishments of police forces.

(1) A police force shall consist of a chief constable and—

(a ) permanent and probationary whole-time constables (hereafter in this Act referred to as ‘regular constables’), and

(b ) part-time constables (hereafter in this Act referred to as ‘special constables’)

not exceeding such number in each case as may from time to time be authorised by the police authority with the consent of the Secretary of State, and may in addition include temporary wholetime constables (hereafter in this Act referred to as ‘temporary constables’) not exceeding such number as may be so authorised.

(2) In deciding the number of regular constables to be authorised under the last preceding subsection for a police force the police authority shall take no account of the number of special or temporary constables authorised or to be authorised for the force.

(3) The chief constable of a police force may maintain lists of persons who undertake to hold themselves available for appointment, in such circumstances as may be specified in the undertaking, as temporary constables of the force, and may arrange for such persons, with their consent, to receive from time to time training in the functions of constables in accordance with such conditions as may be prescribed.

S-4 General functions of constables.

4 General functions of constables.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act it shall be the duty of the constables of a police force, under the direction of the appropriate chief constable—

(a ) to guard, patrol and watch so as—

(i) to prevent the commission of offences against the law,

(ii) to preserve order, and

(iii) to protect life and property;

(b ) where any such offence as aforesaid has been committed (whether within the police area for which the police force is maintained or otherwise), to take all lawful measures, and make such reports to the appropriate prosecutor, as may be necessary for the purpose of bringing the offender with all due speed to justice;

(c ) to serve and execute when required any warrant, citation or deliverance issued, or process duly endorsed, by a Lord Commissioner of Justiciary, sheriff, justice of the peace, or magistrate of a burgh, being a warrant, citation, deliverance or process relating to any criminal proceeding;

(d ) to attend any court of law for the purpose of giving evidence:

Provided that a special constable shall not be required or entitled to exercise the functions of a constable otherwise than—

(a ) in an emergency,

(b ) for the purpose of preventing or suppressing riot or tumult, or

(c ) when with his own consent he is assigned by the chief constable for duty for the purpose of enabling him to gain practical experience of police work.

(2) The preceding subsection shall be without prejudice to the duty of a constable under any other enactment or the common law, but the performance of any such duty shall be subject to the direction of the appropriate chief constable.

(3) In directing the constables of a police force in the performance of their duty (whether under subsection (1) of this section or otherwise) the appropriate chief constable shall comply with such lawful instructions (whether general or as respects any particular case) as he may receive—

(a ) as respects any place in a burgh from the magistrates of the burgh, and

(b ) as respects any place not in a burgh, from the sheriff having jurisdiction in the place:

Provided that in relation to the investigation of offences the chief constable shall comply with such lawful instructions as he may receive from the appropriate prosecutor.

(4) For the purposes of the performance of any duty (whether under this section or otherwise) a constable of a police force shall have all the powers and privileges vested in a constable under this Act or at common law—

(a ) throughout the police area for which the force is maintained,

(b ) throughout any police area in which the constable is for the time being required to serve in pursuance of the provisions of this Act relating to the mutual aid of police forces,

(c ) throughout any police area having a common boundary with any police area mentioned in either of the two last preceding paragraphs, and

(d ) so far as necessary for the purpose of escorting a person in custody from one place to another in pursuance of a lawful direction, throughout any police area:

Provided that this subsection shall be without prejudice to any special powers conferred by any other enactment upon constables for a particular purpose.

(5) The preceding provisions of this section shall not apply to any constable who is for the time being suspended from duty in accordance with any regulations made under this Act.

(6) In this section ‘appropriate chief constable’, in relation to any constable, means—

(a ) if the constable is for the time being serving, in pursuance of the provisions of this Act relating to the mutual aid of police forces, with a police force other than that in which he holds his appointment, the chief constable of the first-mentioned force, and

(b ) in any other case, the chief constable of the police force in which the constable holds his appointment;

and ‘sheriff’, except in paragraph (c ) of subsection (1), does not include ‘sheriff-substitute’.

S-5 Execution of warrants in border counties of England and Scotland.

5 Execution of warrants in border counties of England and Scotland.

(1) It shall be lawful for any constable appointed for any one of the border counties of England or Scotland respectively, that is to say the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, Berwick, Roxburgh or Dumfries, to execute within any of those counties the lawful warrant of any sheriff, justice of the peace or other magistrate for the apprehension of any person accused or convicted of a criminal offence committed, or for the recovering of any goods alleged to have been stolen, within the county for which the constable is appointed, in like manner as the warrant might be executed by that constable within the last mentioned county.

(2) In the preceding subsection—

(a ) references to the counties of Northumberland and Cumberland shall be construed as including references respectively to a combined area within the meaning of the Police Act, 1946, comprising Northumberland and to such a combined area comprising Cumberland, and

(b ) references to the counties of Berwick, Roxburgh and Dumfries shall be construed as including references to a combined area within the meaning of this Act comprising any one of those counties.

(3) This section shall extend to the whole of Great Britain.

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