White Paper: Justice, security and home affairs

The White Paper examines the choices open to an independent Scotland for the justice system. The policies outlined would depend on the SNP winning the election at Holyrood in 2016.

The White Paper says:

  • Human rights would continue to be maintained, and police, courts, prisons, fire and rescue services and community justice would continue to operate.
  • Firearms legislation could be simplified, making it easier to understand.
  • With a new drink-driving limit, already proposed, police could be given powers to conduct random breath tests "any time, anywhere".
  • Decisions could be taken on drugs policy and drug classification to allow them to be addressed together in a coherent way.
  • A bilateral agreement would be made with rUK for cross-border arrests as efficient as current arrangements - without need to resort to the European Arrest Warrant.
  • The Court of Session and the Appeal Court in Edinburgh would become Scotland's Supreme Court, although Scotland would still refer points of EU law and human rights to European courts.
  • More effective regulation of the gaming industry to help tackle problem gambling.

In addition, the White Paper says Scotland would need an independent security and intelligence capacity to ensure its security.

  • A single security and intelligence agency would be responsible for investigating and assessing threats, gathering intelligence, producing open-source intelligence material, producing critical infrastructure and controlling cyber security.
  • The security and intelligence agency would be independent of Police Scotland - but would work closely with it.
  • Detention and arrest would continue to be a matter for the police, with prosecution the responsibility of the Lord Advocate.
  • There would be a "strong relationship of sovereign equals" with rUK.
  • The new agency would develop closer relationships with EU and NATO agencies engaged in cyber security.

An independent Scotland would, for the first time, have control of immigration policy, including providing a home for refugees. The White Paper says:

  • Scotland has a different need for immigration than other parts of the UK, which the current Westminster government have not supported.
  • Scotland would remain in the Common Travel Area with rUK and the Republic of Ireland, so there would be no need for border checks between Scotland and England.
  • As an EU member, Scottish borders would remain open to all EU nationals.
  • For non-EU nationals, there would be a points-based approach to immigration, based on Scottish needs, with lower financial maintenance thresholds and minimum salary levels on entry - to reflect Scottish average wages and cost of living.
  • Reintroduction of the post-study work visa would allow talented people from around the world to continue their education in Scotland.
  • A Scottish Asylum Agency would oversee applications, and the approach would be robust and humane.
  • Dungavel Detention Centre in Lanarkshire would be closed, and dawn raids ended.

The matter of citizenship is a defining characteristic of an independent state, the White Paper says - adding that a multi-cultural Scotland will be the cornerstone of the nation.

  • It proposes an "inclusive model of citizenship," for people whether they want to define themselves as primarily or exclusively Scottish - or wish to become a Scottish passport holder.
  • British citizens habitually resident in Scotland would be considered Scottish citizens, as would Scots-born British citizens living outside Scotland.
  • Citizenship by descent would be available to those whose parent or grandparent qualifies for Scottish citizenship.
  • Those who have spent at least 10 years in Scotland could apply for citizenship.
  • Dual citizenship with rUK would be permitted.
  • All British citizens habitually resident in Scotland will have the right to acquire a Scottish passport.
  • UK passports will be recognised until their expiry date.

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