Charges reported under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 in 2013-14

Analysis of charges reported under the act to provide information about the nature of the charges, the accused and the victims of incidents, reported under offensive behaviour at football and threatening communications legislation.

2 Methods

2.1 For this research, analysts from the Scottish Government undertook a review of case files from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) case management database. This database contains the information that is submitted to COPFS by the police after the accused are charged, including a description of the incident, information about the progression of the charge through the criminal justice system, the decisions that were made on whether or not to prosecute, the court's verdict, and any penalties issued by the court after a conviction. Since this is a live database, information can be updated and changed during the life of the case. For instance if the Procurator Fiscal amends a charge, the database only holds details of the amended charge.

2.2 The COPFS case management database is not designed for routine analysis but an extracted dataset has been used as the source for this research project to explore charges made under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act.

2.3 There are a number of points that should be kept in mind when reading this report. First, this analysis is based on data that was reported to COPFS by the police and is therefore limited by what was included in their reports. Any analysis of, for example, the nature of the offensive behaviour and/or the links to drugs and alcohol depend on the extent to which this information is provided in the reports. This information may not have always been recorded by the police, for example where it was not viewed as directly relevant to the charge.

2.4 Second, this report does not present information about the real or actual personal, social, or cultural identities or backgrounds of victims that may have been the focus of an attack. The report does not include information, for example about the religious affiliation, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation of victims. This is because the characteristics of the victim are not relevant to an assessment of whether a crime was committed and therefore are not required to be recorded in police prosecution reports.

2.5 Finally, the analysis of charges includes cases which are still underway and the findings may therefore be incomplete.


Email: Ben Cavanagh

Back to top