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 rose by 7 per cent between 2017-18 and 2018-19 to over 1,800 (Table 1). This was around the same as the levels in 2014-15 and 2015-16, prior to the historic high of 2,000 cases in 2016-17 (see additional datasets which accompany this publication).
3.3 During 2018-19, there were 2,900 referrals, 2,800 assessments and 1,400 cases completed (Table 4).
3.4 Between 2017-18 and 2018-19, the number of cases commenced rose for all age groups except the over 40s (Table 5). Those aged 16 to 20 are substantially over-represented when the population base is taken into account - they accounted for 46 per cent of people getting diversion from prosecution in 2018-19 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 2018-19, there were around 4.8 diversion from prosecution cases commenced per 10,000 population (Table 3). This was highest for those living in Dumfries & Galloway (17.7) and Shetland (10.7) and lowest for those living in Scottish Borders (0.8) and East Dunbartonshire (1.4). Further information is provided in the additional datasets which accompany this publication.