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What benefits will independence bring for law and order in Scotland?

Scotland already has its own distinct legal system. Our justice system and institutions have a long and proud history. Scotland’s justice agencies have demonstrated the benefits of having decisions taken in Scotland relevant to circumstances here.

However, powers over some key justice matters are held by Westminster, including decisions over drug classification, firearms, gambling and road traffic offences. The Westminster also controls how much of the income collected from criminals in Scotland, through fines and proceeds of crime legislation, can be retained to invest in Scottish communities.

Decisions about currently reserved issues like welfare, employment and public services also have a significant impact on the factors that lead people towards crime and make our communities vulnerable to criminals.

With independence, Scotland will have the full range of powers to tackle crime and the causes of crime in a more joined-up way, to make our communities safer.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will existing UK laws passed by Westminster still apply after independence?

Yes. Following independence, existing laws, whether passed by Westminster or the Scottish Parliament, will continue to apply until they are amended by the independent Scottish Parliament.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will the independence of Scotland’s judges and prosecutors be protected in an independent Scotland?

Yes. The roles, functions and independence of Scotland’s judges and prosecutors will be safeguarded following independence. As at present, Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament will have no powers to intervene in independent judicial decisions. Prosecution decisions will continue to be taken by the Lord Advocate.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Does Scotland have the necessary skills and facilities to ensure law and order in an independent Scotland?

Yes. Scotland has its own legal profession, judiciary, police, prosecutors and other trained justice staff working in our courts, prisons and local criminal justice services.

Crime in Scotland is at a 39 year low and violent crime has almost halved since 2006/07. There are fewer victims of crime and more people feel that their communities are safer places to live. The effectiveness of Scotland’s justice system demonstrates the benefits of decisions being taken in Scotland.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.