02 February 2005

S2M-2243 Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill

Scottish Parliament

Wednesday 2 February 2005

[THE PRESIDING OFFICER opened the meeting at 14:00]

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Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Trish Godman): We now move on to the proper script. The next item of business is a debate on motion S2M-2243, in the name of Cathy Jamieson, on the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, which is United Kingdom legislation, and one amendment to that motion. Before I call the minister, I remind opening speakers to stick very closely to their time limit, as I want to try to get in all the back benchers who want to speak and, at the moment, I may not be able to do so.


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Stewart Stevenson (Banff and Buchan) (SNP): I was impressed by Jeremy Purvis's plea to abolish Scots law, the Parliament and the distinctive nature of Scotland, which are so inconvenient in the United Kingdom context.

Alternatively, as the opening words of the bill say, this Parliament can

"by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal,"

legislate for Scotland. Ladies and gentlemen, I prefer to legislate by the democratic decision of the people in this place, who understand Scotland's needs and traditions.

I will highlight a few points that we would address if we were to discuss the content of the bill. Clause 2(3) refers to the Serious Fraud Office. Scotland has no serious fraud office, so SOCA's powers in Scotland will exceed its powers in England.

Clause 3(4)(c) appears to give water bailiffs power to act in a particular way under the bill and clause 6 says that

"SOCA must send a copy of the annual plan to ... the Scottish Ministers".

However, unlike in England, it is not required that local authorities in Scotland be shown the annual plan—I refer to clause 6(8). Similarly, under clause 7(5), local authorities will not see the annual reports.

Clause 55 refers to an offence under schedule 4 to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and to common law thereafter. That raises huge issues, which we would discuss in Scotland if we could.

Clauses 59, 56 and 57 deal with restrictions on the use of statements and will take people outside the criminal justice system. The challenge is for Westminster to delete the iniquitous power to create an offence of trespass in this country.


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