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Scotland and the UK safer together

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Threats to Scotland and the UK from organised crime gangs, cyber criminals and global terrorism are best confronted with Scotland inside the UK, the Home Secretary explained today.

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The Home Secretary was in Scotland to launch ‘Scotland analysis: Security’, the seventh in a series of UK government papers to inform the debate ahead of next year’s independence referendum.

The paper examines how the UK and Scotland derive mutual benefit from an integrated approach to security, cyber, justice and policing, as well as from security exports and our international alliances and relationships.

The possible consequences for both Scotland and the continuing UK of a vote for independence are subject to analysis in the paper. It stresses that while the UK does work with other countries, such as the Republic of Ireland, to improve security and fight organised crime, there is a significant difference between these relationships and Scotland’s current position as a privileged and influential part of the UK.

The analysis concludes that independence could disturb the united protection provided to Scotland by the UK’s security and intelligence architecture.

Scottish referendum

Key implications of Scottish independence include:

  • Scotland facing a technically complex and expensive requirement to establish its security infrastructure. In the meantime, there would be a risk to both Scotland and the continuing UK of diminished security.

  • Scotland no longer being covered by the UK’s National Cyber Security Programme, which strengthens the services the public rely on and makes the UK a safer place for businesses to operate.

  • Co-operation between Police Scotland and other UK forces may not be as straightforward as it is now. Long established UK-wide laws make it easier to pursue justice across borders despite different legal systems and police jurisdictions.

  • A limit to the amount of information the continuing UK would be able to share with Scotland. Under the “Control Principle”, the UK could not share the kind of information used to fight and counter terrorism with Scotland, passed to it by another country, unless the UK had that country’s consent.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

This report sets out in plain terms the security consequences of independence, not just for Scotland but for the UK as a whole. Undoubtedly we are stronger and safer together.

The national security risks the UK faces are complex and changing. Terrorists and organised criminals will seek new ways to exploit any weakness in our justice and policing capabilities, and the scale of emerging threats, such as cyber crime, demands a comprehensively resourced response.

Now is the time to work more closely together for the security of all citizens of the UK.

The UK government believes that Scotland is better off as part of the UK, and that the UK is stronger, safer and more secure with Scotland as part of it.

In the event of a vote in favour of leaving the UK, Scotland would become an entirely new state and would have to establish its own security arrangements.

Published 29 October 2013