Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2021-22

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland

The total number of people proceeded against in Scottish courts rose by 45% to 67,643 in the year to 2021-22, according to National Statistics published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician today. The number of people convicted also rose at a similar rate, up 39% to 59,295. These increases follow steep falls as a result of reduced court activity during the pandemic.

These figures continue to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the justice system. As the data continues to be affected by the pandemic and the justice system’s recovery, figures for 2021-22, alongside those from 2020-21, should not be considered indicative of longer-term trends.

Increases were seen across all crime and offence groups. Convictions for Non-sexual crimes of violence rose 37% and Sexual crimes were up 52%.

The number of convictions for Rape and attempted rape increased by 105% from 78 in 2020-21 to 160 in 2021-22.

Convictions for crimes under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 rose by 81%, from 381 convictions in 2020-21 to 689 in 2021-22.

The number of people convicted of a crime with a statutory domestic abuse aggravation increased by 20% in 2021-22, up to 7,803 convictions from 6,529 in 2020-21.

The total number of convictions rose by 39%, however, those resulting in a custodial sentence increased by 13% (from 7,239 in 2020-21 to 8,169 in 2021-22). Custodial sentences represented 14% of sentences imposed for all convictions in 2021-22.

The average length of custodial sentence for all crimes, excluding life sentences, in 2021-22 was 376 days, which is 14% longer than in 2020-21 (329 days).

In 2021-22, 24% (14,160) of people convicted were given a community sentence. This is a 45% increase from 2020-21 (9,783).

The number of bail orders remained relatively static (24,538 in 2021-22 compared to 24,645 in 2020-21). There were 24,615 undertakings to appear in court, a fall of 2% from 2020-21 (25,073 undertakings).

There are a number of measures available to the police and COPFS for dealing with minor offences directly. These non-court disposals saw less pronounced changes over the past two years than court disposals.

Police disposals rose by 2% over the year to 31,247 in 2021-22. Recorded Police Warnings made up 65% (20,245) of all police disposals this year and most were issued for drugs offences, breach of the peace, and common assault.

The number of COPFS disposals decreased by 5% between 2020-21 and 2021-22. This was driven by a 28% decrease in the number of Fiscal Warnings, although the same span saw increases in Fiscal Fixed Penalties (up 12%) and Fiscal Combined Fines and Compensation (up 35%).

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


Please note this publication covers the period ending in March 2022, so court volumes presented here were affected by the pandemic as noted above.

The full statistical publication is available at Criminal Proceedings in Scotland.

This publication presents statistics on court proceedings, sentencing and non-court disposals issued by Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. It also contains statistics on bail orders and undertakings.

These statistics were delayed due to issues identified during quality assurance of the data and the time needed to resolve them in conjunction with our data suppliers.

National Statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:


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