3 Diversion from prosecution
3.1 The Procurator Fiscal may decide to refer cases to criminal justice social work in less serious cases where referral may prevent or deter further offences. In such cases, prosecution may be waived or a decision on prosecution deferred pending successful completion of the social work scheme.
3.2 The number of diversion from prosecution cases commenced fell by 14 per cent from 2,000 in 2016-17 to 1,700 in 2017-18 (Table 1). However, this fall marked a return to levels seen previously between 2013-14 and 2015-16, which were themselves substantially higher in prior years (see additional datasets which accompany this publication).
3.3 During 2017-18, there were 2,700 referrals, 2,500 assessments and 1,400 cases completed (Table 4).
3.4 Between 2016-17 and 2017-18, the number of cases commenced for 16 to 20 year olds increased, by 17 per cent, while numbers fell for all other age groups (Table 5). This pattern was the exact opposite to what happened between 2015-16 and 2016-17. Those aged 16 to 20 are substantially over-represented when the population base is taken into account - they accounted for 45 per cent of people getting diversion from prosecution in 2017-18 but only 8 per cent of the population aged 16 to 70. This continues to reflect a general focus on diversion for younger people.
3.5 In 2017-18, there were around 4.5 diversion from prosecution cases commenced per 10,000 population (Table 3). This was highest for those living in Dumfries & Galloway (15.1) and Shetland (11.8) and lowest for those living in Scottish Borders (0.8), West Dunbartonshire (0.8) and Glasgow City (1.4). Further information is provided in the additional datasets which accompany this publication.