Publication - Statistics

Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2011-12

Published: 27 Nov 2012
Part of:

This bulletin forms part of the Scottish Government series of statistical bulletins on the criminal justice system.

72 page PDF

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72 page PDF

569.7 kB

Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2011-12
2. Key Points for 2011-12

72 page PDF

569.7 kB

2. Key Points for 2011-12

Further explanatory detail is provided in the commentary in Section 3.

Court proceedings and convictions (Tables 1, 2, 3, 4a and Chart 2)

  • A total of 124,736 people were proceeded against in court, a decrease of 5 per cent on 2010-11 and the lowest number in ten years.
  • Eighty-seven per cent of people proceeded against in court had at least one charge proved or a plea of guilty accepted, down from 89 per cent in 2010-11.
  • The total number of people convicted was 108,336, a decrease of 6 per cent on 2010-11; 56 per cent were convicted in sheriff summary courts, up 3 percentage points from 2010-11, while the proportion of people convicted in district/justice of the peace (JP) courts fell by 3 percentage points to 40 per cent in 2011-12.
  • The number of people with a charge proved fell for most crime groups including serious assault and attempted murder which fell by 5 per cent (from 1,414 in 2010-11 to 1,345 in 2011-12), crimes of dishonesty, which decreased by 5 per cent (from 15,614 to 14,767), handling offensive weapons, which fell by 8 per cent (from 2,465 to 2,276) and 'other' non-sexual crimes of violence, which fell by 20 per cent (from 478 to 381).
  • The number of people with a charge proved increased for a handful of crime groups, including rape and attempted rape which increased by 43 per cent (from 35 in 2010-11 to 50 in 2011-12),'other' indecency which rose by 22 per cent (from 316 to 384) and robbery, which rose by 12 per cent (from 526 to 590).
  • As with last year, there were decreases in the number of people with a charge proved in court for a number of those crime categories for which the police can now offer fixed penalty notices (for example, vandalism fell by 11 per cent between 2010-11 and 2011-12).

Court sentences (Tables 7 and 10(c))

  • The majority (59,317; 55 per cent) of all convictions in 2011-12 resulted in a financial penalty. As a proportion this is down 3 percentage points from last year (58 per cent) and the actual number is down 12 per cent (from 67,575). The average amount of fine imposed was £241, up 12 per cent (£26) from 2010-11.
  • The number of convictions resulting in a custodial sentence increased 4 per cent in 2011-12 to 15,880. As proportion of all main penalties, the use of custody increased to 15 per cent (from 13 per cent in 2010-11).
  • The average length of custodial sentences in 2011-12 was greater than 9 months (284 days), one week longer than in 2010-11 and the highest level for ten years.
  • Sixteen per cent (16,916) of convictions in 2011-12 resulted in a community sentence, up 8 per cent overall on 2010-11. Community payback orders now make up the majority of community sentences (10,588; 63 per cent) followed by community service orders (2,641; 16 per cent) and probation (2,300; 14 per cent)

Characteristics of offenders convicted in court (Tables 6(a), 6(b), 8(c), 11 and 12)

  • Females accounted for 16 per cent of all convictions but only 9 per cent of custodial sentences. The proportion of males receiving a custodial sentence was higher than the proportion of females in almost all categories of crime and offence (the exceptions being sexual assault and offences associated with prostitution).
  • The number of convictions fell for offenders of all ages. The number of males under age 21 convicted in 2011-12 fell by 13 per cent to 13,128, and the number of females under age 21 who were convicted fell by 12 per cent to 1,950. The number of males over 30 who were convicted in 2011-12 fell by 4 per cent to 44,975, while the number of females over 30 who were convicted fell by 2 per cent to 9,494.

Bail and undertakings (Tables 13, 17 and 18)

  • The total number of bail orders made by Scottish courts in 2011-12 was 47,690, an increase of 3 per cent from the 46,221 bail orders in 2010-11. In 2011-12, the total number of people released on an undertaking to appear in court was 26,118.
  • Other than committing an offence while on bail, there were 8,843 other bail-related offences in 2011-12 (e.g. breach of bail conditions, such as failure to appear in court after being granted bail), an increase of 7 per cent on 2010-11. The number of bail-related offences as a percentage of bail orders granted increased slightly from 18 per cent in 2010-11 to 19 per cent in 2011-12.

Police disposals (Tables 19 to 23)

  • Anti-Social Behaviour Fixed Penalty Notices (ASBFPNs) were issued to 53,624 people as a main penalty in 2011-12, down 1 per cent from 2010-11.
  • In 2011-12, the vast majority of ASBFPNs were issued for three of the offences for which they are available; 24,798 for consuming alcohol in a public place (46 per cent of the total), 12,487 for urinating etc. (23 per cent) and 13,777 for breach of the peace (26 per cent). Males received 87 per cent of ASBFPNs in 2011-12.
  • Police Formal Adult Warnings (FAWs) were given as a main penalty to 8,382 people in 2011-12, up 12 per cent from 2010-11
  • Three-quarters of FAWs issued in 2011-12 were for four crimes/offences; shoplifting (32 per cent), drunkenness (18 per cent), common assault (14 per cent) and breach of the peace (11 per cent). Females received 40 per cent of FAWs in 2011-12.

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service disposals (Tables 24 to 28)

  • In 2011-12, 42,173 people were issued with a fiscal fine as a main penalty (up 18 per cent from 2010-11), and 21,064 people were issued a fiscal fixed penalty (up 3 per cent).
  • Two-thirds of fiscal fines in 2011-12 were issued to males (67 per cent). Of the 13,722 fiscal fines issued to females, the most common crimes/offences for which they were given were Communications Act offences (57 per cent), shoplifting (12 per cent) and drugs offences (8 per cent), while of the 28,426 fiscal fines issued to males, 35 per cent were for drugs offences, 12 per cent for Communications Act offences and 11 per cent for alcohol byelaw offences.
  • Procurator fiscal fixed penalties are generally issued for motor vehicle offences. In 2011-12, 37 per cent were for speeding offences, 18 per cent for documentation offences, 12 per cent for signal and direction offences, 5 per cent for lighting/ construction and use offences and 27 per cent for other motor vehicle offences (such as seat belt and mobile telephone offences).


Email: Howard Hooper