A leading Scottish children’s charity has issued a warning about the likely impact of a Westminster Bill in Scotland.
Children in Scotland has expressed serious concerns over plans in the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill for a new duty on organisations and staff to report children as young as two judged to be at risk of becoming involved in terrorism.
Chief Executive Jackie Brock said:
“We would like to know what the evidence is that children in Scottish early years settings and early years specialist provision pose any threat of becoming radicalized. If this evidence doesn’t exist, the proposed nature and scope of the new duty seems excessive and completely unjustified for application in Scotland. We suspect that the proposed duty is, in reality, aimed at parents and carers of children and young people, thus placing staff in services to be covered by the duty in the invidious position of being asked to observe and assess adults as well as children and young people.”
She added: “[These proposals] will only serve to alienate certain families and communities from service providers and have a seriously adverse effect on our priorities around inclusiveness and equality in Scotland – for negligible gain in terms of protecting us from terrorists.”
The consultation on the Bill emphasises the type of constitutional issues Children in Scotland highlighted in comments they made last autumn in response to the Smith Commission recommendations.
Crucially, the charity says the proposals risk further confusion and tension between reserved and devolved functions, in this case counter terrorism (reserved to the UK Government) and education and child protection (devolved to the Scottish Government).
This is another example of how the febrile atmosphere of English politics currently affects Scotland in a completely inappropriate way.
If we had genuine Home Rule, such an intervention simply couldn’t happen.