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 increased substantially in the early part of January 2021 but returned to 19-20 average levels by the end of February and continued to decline throughout March 21. The number of reports awaiting marking is now significantly below 19-20 average levels. The number of reports with an interim marking remains above 19-20 average levels.