POLICE officers will issue on-the-spot warnings for a broader range of petty offences in a bid to speed up Scotland’s justice system.
From next month, more low-level crime will be dealt with by Recorded Police Warnings without officers having to submit a report to the procurator fiscal.
The scheme updates the previous system of Formal Adult Warnings which were accompanied by a report to prosecutors.
However despite reports to the contrary, cannabis possession will continue to be reported to the procurator fiscal in all but a very small number of cases.
Chief Superintendent Brian McInulty said: “Recorded Police Warnings will provide a consistent, swifter, more effective and proportionate way of dealing with low-level offences earlier in the process than the current processes allow for.
“Many incidents are capable of quick resolution without the need to submit a formal report to the procurator fiscal. Officers will be able to deal with incidents and offenders there and then, which is beneficial to everyone.”
Police officers will have a number of disposal options available to them starting with a verbal warning, a Record Police Warning, a Fixed Penalty Notice or submitting a formal prosecution report to the Crown Office.
Anyone receiving a Recorded Police Warning will have it recorded in the criminal history system for two years.
A Crown Office spokesman said: “This system provides a mechanism that is timely and proportionate, avoids the preparation and submission of a police report and enables the procurator fiscal and court to focus on more serious crimes while giving police the range of powers they need to respond quickly and appropriately to very minor offences.”