HL Deb 13 December 1979 vol 403 cc1431-2WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What powers the police in Scotland now have, either at common law or under statute, without a warrant and without arresting him, to stop or detain and to search the body, whether manually or by breathalyser or other instrument, the clothing or the baggage of a person, in connection with the actual or possible commission of a crime or offence, and to list the relevant statutory provisions now in force.


The police in Scotland are entitled at common law in cases of urgency to search without warrant suspects whom they have not arrested, including cases where there is a possibility that the suspect may otherwise remove incriminating evidence from his person. As regards statutory provisions, Section 467 of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act 1892 and equivalent local Acts entitle the police to stop, search, and detain any person reasonably suspected of having or carrying stolen property or property fraudulently obtained or carried away.

Powers of search without warrant and without arrest in connection with the actual or suspected commission of specific crimes or offences are conferred on the police in Scotland by the following statutory provisions:

Section 2 of the Poaching Prevention Act 1862,

Section 11(3) of the Salmon and Fresh-water Fisheries (Protection) (Scotland) Act 1951,

Section 12(1) of the Protection of Birds Act 1954,

Section 27 of the Deer (Scotland) Act 1959,

Section 47 of the Firearms Act 1968,

Section 23(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971,

Section 10(1) of the Badgers Act 1973,

Section 10 of the Conservation of Wild Creatures and Wild Plants Act 1975.

Additionally, Section 8 of the Road Traffic Act 1972 entitles the police to require a person to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test in specific circumstances.