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I thank Mr Greer for his point, which I will come to when I speak about wider considerations of enforcement.
Use of force is encapsulated in section 20, which requires a sheriff to grant a warrant or for the officer to be “accompanied by a constable”. Therefore, robust protections have been included.
Conservative members and the community council, in its evidence, raised points about residential property. I underline the fact that section 21 states:
“An enforcement officer may take action under section 17 or 19 in relation to a house or a place that can be entered only through a house only if—
(a) an individual who habitually resides in the house permits the enforcement officer to do so, or
(b) the sheriff grants a warrant for such an action.”
The section goes on to state:
“an enforcement officer may enter a house only—
(a) at reasonable times, and
(b) if accompanied by a constable.
Therefore, section 21 already includes robust safeguards in relation to residential property.
On the committee’s suggestion relating to police powers, it is important to emphasise that Police Scotland has indicated to us that details of any expert assistance for enforcement officers would be relayed to the multi-agency co-ordination centre and that incidents would be noted via existing channels, so there would already be a record of external assistance that was used by enforcement officers.
However, the issue remains that insisting that the police are notified in advance of action being taken could create delay or confusion. Nonetheless, we will continue to consider the point that the committee raised. Obviously, I referred to that in my written response to the committee and made a commitment that the current test of reasonableness for taking a person to a place will be increased to a test of necessity.