Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)
Reports received by COPFS
After a crime is classified and a suspect charged, police send a report to the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).
Total reports received by COPFS have remained just below pre-pandemic levels since March 2021.
- The total number of reports received by COPFS decreased substantially at the beginning of lockdown. Numbers increased to pre-pandemic levels before a substantial decrease in February 2021. Reports in March recovered to just under pre-pandemic levels and have remained around that number over the last few months.
- Custody report numbers had returned to 2019-20 levels but decreased from August and are now around two-thirds of 19-20 average levels.
- Undertaking report numbers remain higher than 2019-20 levels and were at their highest level since the pandemic started (almost twice the 19-20 average) in June 2021.
First substantive marking
When COPFS receive a report that someone has committed a crime the prosecutor must decide whether and what action to take. This is recorded on the case as a “marking”. If a decision cannot be taken immediately, an interim marking may be recorded. When a substantive decision is reached a First Substantive Marking (FSM) is recorded, to indicate how the prosecutor has decided to proceed.
The number of accused given a FSM by COPFS remains below pre-pandemic levels. The number of reports awaiting marking has been increasing in recent months and now sits above 19-20 average levels. The number of reports with an interim marking has been above 19-20 average levels throughout 2020 and into 2021.
Summary of COPFS First Substantive Markings
There are 3 types of marking decision available to COPFS:
- No Action
- Direct Measures
- Court proceedings
Following an increase in all marking types in January 2021, numbers of markings subsequently decreased. Markings for No Action remain around pre-pandemic levels, markings for Direct Measures have increased to just under pre-pandemic levels and markings for court have been increasing but remain well below pre-pandemic levels.
Alternatives to court include diversion, fiscal fines, fixed penalties, community and work orders. Fiscal fine limits were increased as part of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020.
In January 2021, for the first time in 2020-21, the numbers of subjects receiving a Fiscal Fine increased to above 19-20 average levels (dotted lines). Numbers have decreased in subsequent months and fell to less than half the 19-20 average in April 2021 before increasing again in May and June 2021.
The number of subjects given Fiscal fixed penalties increased from May 2020, and remained above 19-20 average levels throughout the end of 2020. Numbers increased to almost double 19-20 average levels in January 2021 before decreasing again but remaining above pre-pandemic levels.
Subjects marked for court
The type of court proceedings appropriate for a case depends on the nature of the crimes or offences involved. The most serious crimes are marked for solemn proceedings, whilst less serious crimes and offences will be marked for Sheriff Summary or JP courts.
The number of people marked for proceedings in:
- Solemn court (High Court or Sheriff & Jury) has been at or above 19-20 average levels since April 2020.
- Sheriff Summary court have, on the whole, remained below pre pandemic levels since April 2020. In June 2021, numbers were around 80% of the 19-20 average.
- Markings for JP court have remained well below the 19-20 average.
Fatal Accident Inquiries (as of 01 July 2021)
FAIs with scheduled court dates 31
FAIs with First Notice lodged, awaiting court dates: 2
Source: Data in this section has come from COPFS Internal Management Information System.
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