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Experimental Statistics

Experimental Statistics

Criminal Proceedings statistics by the local authority of the accused, 2015-16 - 2016-17

These experimental statistics, at a local authority level, have been published alongside the Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2016-17 National Statistics publication. The statistics present numbers of court convictions and measures used by Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) as alternatives to prosecution for 2015-16 and 2016-17. The local authority information is based on the postcode of the offender’s address.

Traditionally, criminal proceedings statistics were available at a local authority level, based on the location of the court in which the case is heard. Although informative, these were not always the most useful breakdowns for our users as they were not necessarily representative of where the offender individuals lived and therefore where the support services are required. From January 2014, Police Scotland, who provide the Criminal History System (CHS) data that the Criminal Proceedings statistics are derived from, began to supply the “postcode district” (i.e. the first half of the postcode) of the offender’s address. These local authority breakdowns result from this new postcode information.

A consultation was run in July/August 2015 to identify stakeholder needs for this local information. Results to this consultation can be found here.

From July 2016, we have had access to postcodes from elsewhere in the UK, and these have been presented in the tables this year. There are relatively small numbers of these cases, so they have made little difference to rates of coverage.


The tables are available for download here and include the following breakdowns:

  • Table 1a and b - Convictions by court disposal, age and gender;

  • Table 2a and b - Convictions by court disposal and crime type;

  • Table 3a and b - Custodial sentences by length of sentence;

  • Table 4a and b - Fiscal disposals by disposal type;

  • Table 5a and b - Police disposals by disposal type.

Data quality and disclosure control

These statistics have been classed as ‘experimental’ because postcode information is not available for all records.  The percentage of records where postcode information was available is presented in the table below, by disposal and financial year.

Percentage of records with a valid postcode

Type of data

Completeness 2015-16

Completeness 2016-17

Court convictions



Police disposals



Fiscal disposals



1. ‘Completeness’ refers to the percentage of records where a valid postcode was present.

Missing local authority information is clearly presented in the tables so users can take this into account when using the statistics.

Completeness rates vary considerably by the local authority area of where the court is located. Please note that the local authority based on the court location will not necessarily be the same as where the offender lives but is likely to be an adjacent local authority. For example, people in Midlothian, where there are no courts, will travel to court in the City of Edinburgh. Even in local authorities where courts are located there can be cross border travel dependent on demand. Completeness rates by court location are presented in the spreadsheet and the varying levels of completeness should be taken into account by users.

Please be aware that we have applied disclosure control to the tables so individuals cannot be identified at this low level of geography.  We have done this by only presenting the overall missing totals and not providing a breakdown of missing local authority records by smaller demographic groups.

Future Plans

For the Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2017-18 publication, we will continue to assess the level of completeness and accuracy, to ascertain where gaps still exist, and to look at what can be done to improve the coverage. Provided the completeness and accuracy of this data improves, we hope to then be able to remove the ‘experimental’ label from these statistics. As data become more complete we may also be able to provide further breakdowns for future outputs.

We welcome user feedback on the tables as they currently stand, and on data users would like to see in the future:

Email: justiceanalysts@gov.scot