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Police Scotland: ‘Smacking ban will be costly’

April 2019

Police Scotland SOURCE Flickr/Ninian Reid
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Police Scotland has warned members of the Scottish Parliament that a smacking ban could result in increased costs to the force as officers spend more time investigating allegations against parents.

The force has also raised concerns that the ban, proposed by Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie, with Scottish government backing, could interfere with family life.

The force’s concerns were contained in a document submitted to Holyrood’s Equality and Human Rights Committee which is examining the proposed legislation.

The document said: ‘Police Scotland envisages that the repeal of the defence provided by Section 51 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 will result in an increase in reporting.

‘This will have potential cost/resource implications for Police Scotland and partner agencies.’

The document also said the proposals may be considered as ‘state intervention in family life where parents and carers are “criminalised” for behaviour that was previously accepted and supported by a statutory defence for generations’.

The police document also stated that, even in cases where there was no evidence of significant harm, officers would be under a duty to investigate every allegation of smacking and report parents to prosecutors if there was sufficient evidence.