Publication - Statistics

Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2011-12

Published: 27 Nov 2012
Part of:

This bulletin forms part of the Scottish Government series of statistical bulletins on the criminal justice system.

72 page PDF

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72 page PDF

569.7 kB

Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2011-12
Annex D - Definitions, Classifications and Notation

72 page PDF

569.7 kB

Annex D - Definitions, Classifications and Notation

D1. The measures available to a court in sentencing a convicted person depend on whether the accused is an adult (21 or over), a young offender (aged 16 but less than 21) or a juvenile (under 16 or under 18 with a current supervisory requirement from a children's hearing). In some cases, the court may obtain evidence on whether the accused is suffering from a mental disorder. The measures available to courts in 2011-12 included:

Custodial sentences

a. Imprison the offender (or sentence a young offender to a Young Offenders' Institution (YOI)) or, if the offender has been released on licence/under supervision following a previous conviction, recall to prison or YOI.

b. Issue an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR). OLR provides for the lifelong supervision of high risk violent and sexual offenders and allows for a greater degree of intensive supervision than is the current norm. The OLR is designed to ensure that offenders, after having served an adequate period in prison to meet the requirements of punishment, do not present an unacceptable risk to public safety once they are released into the community. The period spent in the community will be an integral part of the sentence, which lasts for the remaining period of the offender's life.

c. Sentence a young offender under 18 years of age convicted of murder to detention for an indeterminate period (the effect of these sentences is normally detention in a young offenders institution).

d. Sentence a juvenile to a specified period of detention in a place and on such conditions as Scottish Ministers may direct.

(The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 introduced provisions to allow courts to impose additional post-release supervision on licence where they consider that any existing supervision after the offender's release from custody would not be enough to protect the public from serious harm from the offender. These "extended sentences" can be imposed in indictment cases on sex offenders or on violent offenders who would have received a determinate sentence of four years or more.)

Community sentences

e. Impose a probation order with or without various conditions including a requirement to do unpaid work (for offences committed prior to 1 February 2011).

f. Impose a community service order requiring the offender to undertake unpaid work (for offences committed prior to 1 February 2011).

g. Impose a supervised attendance order which the court can impose as an alternative to custody for people who have defaulted on fines imposed for minor criminal offences (for offences committed prior to 1 February 2011).

h. Impose a restriction of liberty order: a community sentence introduced by section 5 of the Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Act 1997 and available to courts nationally from 1 May 2002.

i. Impose a drug treatment and testing order (DTTO): a measure introduced by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and rolled out in phases from 1999 onwards. It is now available to the high court and all sheriff courts, together with the Glasgow Stipendiary Magistrates Court. In addition, a new model for DTTOs has been rolled out to at least one local authority and this can be issued from lower courts and for less serious offenders.

j. Impose a community payback order (for offences committed after 1 February 2011).

Financial penalties

k. Fine the offender.

l. Impose a compensation order requiring the offender to compensate the victim for any resulting injury, loss, damage, alarm or distress.

Other sentences

m. Order an absolute discharge (with no conviction recorded in summary procedure) or, following a deferral of sentence, make no order.

n. Admonish the offender or make an order to find caution (the overwhelming majority of these are admonishments).

o. Remit the disposal of a child offender to a children's hearing (if the accused is a child, under 16 years of age or aged 16 or 17 and subject to a supervision requirement).

p. Make a guardianship order if the accused is suffering from mental disorder (with no conviction recorded in summary procedure).

q. Make a compulsion order if the accused is suffering from mental disorder (with a conviction recorded), for a period of six months with regular reviews.

D2. The range of options available to the police for minor offences includes:

a. Anti-social behaviour fixed penalty notices (ASBFPNs) of £40, can be issued for eleven crime/offence types to people aged 16 or over. Payment of the penalty involves no admission of guilt.

b. Formal adult warnings (FAWs) are issued for minor offences, commonly including street drinking, drunk and incapable, urinating, minor theft by shoplifting, assault, breach of the peace and vandalism.

c. Restorative justice warnings are issued to juvenile offenders for minor offences when there have been no previous offences or referrals to the Children's Reporter, and a range of other criteria are met.

d. Warning letters can be issued to juvenile offenders for minor offences by the police or the Children's Reporter (however it is not possible to identify the issuing authority in the CHS data).

e. A small number of other types of police warnings have been identified in the CHS database, including prostitute warnings, verbal warnings and community warning notices.

D3. When a report is submitted by the police to the procurator fiscal, prosecution in court is only one of a range of possible options for dealing with people who have been charged. This bulletin presents information on the following options, all non-convictions:

a. Fiscal fines of up to £300 for summary offences. Available to fiscals before SJR, but cannot be separately identified in CHS until after SJR.

b. Fiscal fixed penalties (mainly) for motor vehicle offences. Available to fiscals before SJR, but cannot be separately identified in CHS until after SJR.

c. Fiscal compensation orders of up to £5,000 payable to the victim. Only available after SJR, for personal injury, loss, damage, alarm or distress.

d. Combined fiscal fine and fiscal compensation order.


D4. The following symbols are used throughout the tables in this bulletin:

- Nil

* Less than 0.5

n/a Not available

D5. The percentage figures given in tables and charts have been independently rounded, so they may not always sum to the relevant sub-totals or totals.

Classification of crimes and offences

D6. Contraventions of the law are divided, for statistical purposes only, into crimes and offences. The classification of crimes and offences used by the Scottish Government for criminal statistics contains over 300 codes. These are grouped in this bulletin as shown in the following table.



(Also referred to as Violence)


Comprises murder and culpable homicide (including the statutory crimes of causing death by dangerous or careless driving or causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, or when driving illegally).

Serious assault and attempted murder

Sometimes referred for short in the text as "serious assault".


Includes offences involving intent to rob.

Other violence

Includes threats, extortion and cruel and unnatural treatment of children.


(Also referred to as Indecency)

Rape and attempted rape


Sexual assault

Includes: Contact sexual assault (13-15 yr old or adult 16+), Other sexually coercive conduct (adult 16+), Sexual offences against children under 13, Sexual activity with children aged 13-15, Other sexual offences involving children aged 13-15, Lewd and libidinous practices

Offences associated with prostitution

Includes: Soliciting services of person engaged in prostitution, Brothel keeping, Immoral traffic, and Procuration

Other indecency

Includes: Incest, Unnatural Crimes, Public indecency, Sexual exposure, and other sexual offences


(Also referred to as Dishonesty)


Includes business as well as domestic premises.

Theft by opening a lockfast place


Theft from a motor vehicle


Theft of a motor vehicle




Other theft

Includes theft of pedal cycles.


Includes statutory fraud, except social security benefit fraud.

Other dishonesty

Includes forgery, reset and embezzlement.





Includes malicious mischief, vandalism and reckless conduct with firearms.


Crimes against public justice

Includes perjury, contempt of court, bail offences and failing to appear at court.

Handling an offensive weapon

Comprises carrying offensive weapons, restriction of offensive weapons legislation.


Includes importation, possession and supply of controlled drugs.

Other crime

Includes conspiracy and explosives offences.



Common assault

Also sometimes termed petty assault or minor assault.

Breach of the peace, etc.

Includes breach of the peace, threatening or abusive behaviour, stalking, and offensive behaviour at football and threatening communications (Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act 2012)


Includes offences of being drunk and incapable, being drunk in charge of a child, being disorderly on (or in attempting to enter) licensed premises and being drunk inside (or in attempting to enter) a sports ground.

Other offence

Includes offences against local legislation, Revenue and Excise Acts, Licensing Acts, Wireless Telegraphy Acts / Communication Acts.


Dangerous and careless driving


Drink/drug driving

Comprises driving or in charge of motor vehicle while unfit through drink or drugs, blood alcohol content above limit and failing to provide breath, blood or urine specimens.



Unlawful use of vehicle

Comprises driving while disqualified, without a licence, insurance, test certificate, vehicle tax and registration and identification offences.

Vehicle defect offences

Comprises construction and use and lighting offences.

Other vehicle

Includes parking, record of work offences, neglect of traffic directions, failing to stop after accident and mobile phone offences and the small number of motorway and clearway offences.

D7. While data was being collated for this bulletin a small number of amendments were made to the criminal proceedings classification groupings to increase consistency with the recorded crime groupings.

  • Last year's 'prostitution' category has been relabeled as 'offences associated with prostitution', and now includes crimes such as soliciting services of person engaged in prostitution, brothel keeping, immoral traffic and procuration (which were previously included in 'other indecency').
  • Theft from a motor vehicle is now reported as a distinct category, rather than being included in 'other theft' as last year.
  • Theft from an ATM is now included within 'fraud', in line with police recording practice.

In addition, work was carried out to improve the consistency with which charge codes that relate to more than one offence are treated. This work has resulted in some small adjustments to the previously published numbers of people with charges proved within some crime groups, mostly affecting the 'rape and attempted rape' crime group.


Email: Howard Hooper