Publication - Statistics

Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2011-12

Published: 27 Nov 2012
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781782562436

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

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72 page PDF

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Contents
Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2011-12
3. Commentary

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3. Commentary

3.1 Criminal Proceedings in Context

Table 1, Table 19, Chart 2

3.1.1 Contraventions of the law are classified (see Annex D) into crimes and offences. This distinction is made only for statistical reporting purposes and the "seriousness" of the offence is generally related to the maximum sentence that can be imposed. Table 1 and Chart 2 provide a summary of known action in the criminal justice system.

3.1.2 The total number of crimes recorded by the police in 2011-12 was 314,186, 3 per cent lower than in 2010-11. The number of recorded crimes cleared up by the police in 2011-12 (155,264) fell by 1 per cent compared to 2010-11, meaning that the clear-up rate remained at 49 per cent (a crime is regarded as 'cleared-up' where there is a sufficiency of evidence under Scots law to justify consideration of criminal proceedings).

3.1.3 The number of offences recorded by the police in 2011-12 (544,033) increased by 3 per cent on the total in 2010-11 (530,249). The number of recorded offences cleared up by the police in 2011-12 (507,818) also rose by 3 per cent compared to 2010-11, meaning that the clear-up rate remained at 93 per cent.

3.1.4 "Clear-ups" do not necessarily result in a report being sent by the police to the procurator fiscal, and there is not always sufficient available evidence to prosecute the offence in court. The Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 allowed the police to issue Anti-Social Behaviour Fixed Penalty Notices (ASBFPNs) for a range of offences, in addition to other types of police disposals. In 2011-12 53,624 people were issued with ASBFPNs as a main penalty and 8,382 people received a formal adult warning.

3.1.5 In 2011-12, the police issued 970 restorative justice warnings to juveniles. In addition, where the alleged offender is a juvenile, a referral can be made to the children's reporter. One outcome of that process is for the police or the reporter to issue a warning letter to the offender; 2,160 such warning letters were issued in 2011-12.

3.1.6 Owners of defective vehicles can avoid possible court proceedings, by having their vehicle repaired within a given period (Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme). Alternatives to court proceedings for moving motor vehicle offences are police conditional offers of a fixed penalty and procurator fiscal fixed penalty notices. It is not known how many alleged offenders are otherwise dealt with using discretion, informally by the police or by other agencies.

3.1.7 Referrals or reports often include more than one crime or offence, and in the case of reports to the procurator fiscal may also involve more than one person. There is thus no direct relationship between the number of crimes and offences recorded by the police and the number of disposals resulting from the action of other agencies within the criminal justice system. In addition, many offences included in this bulletin, such as failure to pay a television licence, are reported to the procurator fiscal by specialist reporting agencies such as TV Licensing. Where crimes or offences are recorded and cleared up by the police, any action by the procurator fiscal (or other action) does not necessarily occur in the same year.

3.1.8 In 2011-12, the procurator fiscal received 276,080 criminal reports (from the police and other specialist reporting agencies), an increase of 1 per cent compared with 2010-11. Prosecution in court is only one of a range of possible options the procurator fiscal has for dealing with people who have been charged. Other actions include the use of a range of non-court-based actions such as fiscal fines, compensation orders, fixed penalties, diversion to social work and other agencies, warnings and referrals to the children's reporter, or a decision to take no action. In 2011-12, the Criminal History System (CHS) included 42,173 people issued with fiscal fines as a main penalty and 21,064 people issued with fiscal fixed penalties. More details are available on this new data extraction in notes B7 to B9, C5 and D3.

Chart 2: Overview of action within the criminal justice system 2011-12

Chart 2: Overview of action within the criminal justice system 2011-12

1. Figures rounded to the nearest 100.
2. Crimes recorded in 2011-12 may not be cleared up or dealt with until 2012-13 or later.
3. A report to the procurator fiscal may involve more than one crime or offence and more than one alleged offender.
4. Reports to the fiscal on non-criminal matters such as sudden deaths, are not included in this total.
5. Number of people from CHS.
6. Includes formal adult warnings, restorative justice warnings, warning letters and other police warnings.
7. Number of cases; data from Crown Office.
8. Figures relate to cases which were closed as offer deemed accepted.
9. Figures for people with a charge proved count the number of occasions on which a person is convicted.
10. Following consultation, figures for motor vehicle offences are no longer collated centrally.

A number of outcomes may result in subsequent prosecutions or referrals to other agencies, for example if a condition such as payment of a fixed penalty is not complied with. For simplicity, these pathways are not shown in the diagram.

3.2 People Proceeded Against in Court

Tables 1 & 2

Unless otherwise stated, references in this bulletin to the crime or offence group for which a person is proceeded against or convicted relate to the main charge involved; the main charge is defined in Annex C. The final column of Table 4(a) provides counts of individual offences with a charge proved regardless of whether or not they were the main offence involved.

3.2.1 The number of people proceeded against decreased to 124,736 in 2011-12, a fall of 5 per cent from the corresponding figure in 2010-11. Where a person is subject to two (or more) separate proceedings, they will be counted two (or more) times in this total.

3.2.2 Eighty-seven per cent of people proceeded against in court in 2011-12 were convicted after being found guilty of at least one charge. This equates to a total of 108,336 convictions. Less than 4 per cent were acquitted on a "not guilty" verdict, and less than 1 per cent on a "not proven" verdict. The remaining 9 per cent either had their case deserted by the prosecution or had a plea of "not guilty" accepted.

3.2.3 Of all people acquitted after trial in 2011-12, 18 per cent received a "not proven" verdict.

3.2.4 Acquittal rates vary by crime group, although in 2011-12 it was highest for rape and attempted rape; 21 per cent of the 94 people proceeded against for rape or attempted rape were acquitted following a "not guilty" verdict. The proportion of people receiving a "not proven" verdict was also highest for rape/ attempted rape (17 per cent).

3.2.5 Twenty-nine per cent of people proceeded against for theft of a motor vehicle had a plea of "not guilty" accepted or had the case against them deserted.

3.3 People Convicted (by court and crime/offence group)

Tables 3, 4(a) & 4(b)

By court type

3.3.1 The total number of convictions in 2011-12 was 108,336, a decrease of 6 per cent from 2010-11. Compared to 2010-11, the number of convictions fell in district/JP courts by 13 per cent and in sheriff summary courts by 1 per cent, but increased in the high court and sheriff solemn courts (both by 3 per cent).

3.3.2 The number of convictions in sheriff summary courts fell from 61,572 in 2010-11 to 60,654 in 2011-12, but as a proportion of all convictions this represents an increase from 53 per cent to 56 per cent. The number of convictions that took place in district/JP courts decreased from 49,281 in 2010-11 to 42,834 in 2011-12, which as a proportion of all convictions represents a decrease from 43 per cent to 40 per cent.

3.3.3 More serious cases are dealt with in the high court or sheriff solemn courts. In 2011-12 4,848 people were convicted in these courts - 5 per cent of all people convicted. Recording delays mean that the figures for high court convictions in 2011-12 may be slight underestimates.

By crime group

3.3.4 While the number of people convicted of all types of crime and offence fell by 6 per cent in 2011-12, the number of people convicted of crimes was down 4 per cent (from 40,961 to 39,185), and the number of people convicted of offences fell by 7 per cent (from 74,603 to 69,151).

3.3.5 The number of people convicted fell for all but a handful of crime groups. Some of the more notable changes were:

  • Charges proved for robbery increased by 12 per cent, from 526 to 590.
  • "Other violence" fell by 20 per cent, from 478 to 381 charges proved in 2011-12.
  • Fraud fell by 24 per cent, from 1,065 to 811.
  • Vandalism was down 11 per cent, a similar proportional decrease as seen last year, from 3,203 in 2010-11 to 2,862 in 2011-12.
  • Handling an offensive weapon fell for the third year in a row, by 8 per cent, from 2,465 to 2,276.

3.3.6 Convictions for rape and attempted rape increased by 43 per cent, from 35 in 2010-11 to 50 in 2011-12. "Other indecency" also increased by 22 per cent, from 316 to 384. Part of this increase may be explained by the change and broadening of the definition of rape in the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, as 2011-12 is the first full year of data since the changes were enacted.

By offence group

3.3.7 The number of convictions for drunkenness decreased by 23 per cent, from 160 in 2010-11 to 124 in 2011-12.

3.3.8 Within the motor vehicle offences group, convictions for drink/drug driving offences decreased again by 1 per cent (from 5,351 in 2010-11 to 5,281 in 2011-12). Convictions for speeding also decreased, by 4 per cent (from 12,955 to 12,377).

3.3.9 'Other' vehicle offences decreased by 26 per cent (from 9,858 in 2010-11 to 7,246 in 2011-12).

3.4 People Convicted (by age and gender)

Tables 5, 6(a) & 6(b) & 12

3.4.1 The number of convictions per 1,000 population fell from 28 in 2010-11 to 26 in 2011-12; the number for females fell from 9 in 2010-11 to 8 in 2011-12, while the number for males fell from 47 to 44. The number of males with a charge proved (per 1,000 population) is higher than the number of females, in each of the age categories presented in table 5.

3.4.2 The peak rates of convictions per 1,000 population for males are in the ages 19 and 20 (97 and 99 respectively). The greatest change for males is in the age 17 group, where the charges proved per 1,000 population has fallen by 20 per cent. The peak age range for female convictions per 1,000 population is age 26-30 (with 18 per 1,000). The greatest change for females is in the age 18 group, where the charges proved per 1,000 population has fallen by 28 per cent.

3.4.3 Males accounted for 84 per cent of all convictions in 2011-12 (excluding companies) where the gender was known, unchanged since 2010-11. More males than females were convicted in all crime/offence categories except for offences associated with prostitution. Other categories with high proportions of female convictions include fraud (34 per cent), 'other' non-sexual crimes of violence (32 per cent) and shoplifting and 'other crime' (both 28 per cent).

3.4.4 In 2011-12, common assault was the most common offence for which people under the age of 30 were convicted. Of all the crimes and offences for which females aged under-21 were convicted, one-third were in the crime category common assault (33 per cent), while 15 per cent of females aged 21-to-30 were convicted for common assault (and a further 15 per cent for shoplifting). For males, 20 per cent of those under-21, and 14 per cent of males aged 21-to-30, were convicted for common assault.

3.4.5 Convictions for motor vehicle offences accounted for higher proportions of male and female convictions for those aged over 30; 43 per cent for males and 40 per cent for females. This compares to the under 21 age group, to 19 per cent for males and 17 per cent for females. Speeding is the specific offence for which males and females aged over 30 are most commonly convicted (16 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively).

3.5 Sentencing

Tables 7, 8(a), 8(b), 8(c), 9, 10(a), 10(b), 10(c), 11 & 12, Charts 3 & 4

Homicide

3.5.1 The proportion of people convicted of homicide who were given a custodial sentence fell slightly from 83 per cent in 2010-11 to 82 per cent in 2011-12. Non-custodial sentences for homicide are mostly related to motor vehicle fatalities.

Rape

3.5.2 In 2011-12, of the 50 people convicted of rape or attempted rape, 47 (94 per cent) were given a custodial sentence. Of the three people not given a custodial sentence/order, one was charged with attempted rape.

Custodial sentences

3.5.3 The number of convictions resulting in a custodial sentence increased 3 per cent in 2011-12 to 15,880, and as a proportion of all main penalties, the use of custody increased to 15 per cent.

3.5.4 Custody is the most frequently used sentence for most types of crime involving violence, including rape and attempted rape and sexual assault. Other crime types with high proportions of convictions resulting in a custodial sentence in 2011-12 were housebreaking (54 per cent), theft from a motor vehicle (45 per cent), fire-raising (40 per cent), theft by opening a lockfast place (39 per cent) and handling an offensive weapon (35 per cent).

3.5.5 The average length of custodial sentences for those sentenced to custody in 2011-12 was greater than 9 months (284 days), one week higher than in 2010-11.

3.5.6 Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, average custodial sentence lengths increased for some of the more serious crimes and fell for some of the others; for example, the average custodial sentence length for:

  • Sexual assault decreased by 11 per cent (to 1,232 days).
  • Serious assault and attempted murder increased by 5 per cent (to 967 days).
  • Homicide (excluding life sentences) fell by 4 per cent (to 2,206 days).
  • Rape and attempted rape increased by 8 per cent to 2,269 days.

3.5.7 The average sentence length also increased for a range of other crimes and offences, some of which are typically dealt with in summary courts and may therefore be related to the continuing use of police and procurator fiscal disposals for some of the less serious cases in relevant crime categories. For example; the average custodial sentence for:

  • Breach of the peace rose 10 per cent to 136 days.
  • Fire-raising increased by 23 per cent to 683 days.
  • Handling an offensive weapon increased by 8 per cent (to 311 days), and for the seventh year in a row.

In all these examples, the average sentence length is now longer than at any other point in the last ten years.

3.5.8 Twenty-eight per cent of all custodial sentences in 2011-12 were for three months or less (down from 35 per cent in 2010-11) and there were corresponding increases in the proportions of sentences of over three months and up to two years. The presumption against sentences of 3 months or less may have made some contribution to this downward trend.

3.5.9 Crimes of violence and crimes of indecency were the most likely to attract long custodial sentences. Only one per cent of custodial sentences for crimes of dishonesty in 2010-11 were for over two years whereas the corresponding proportions for non-sexual crimes of violence and crimes of indecency were 44 and 57 per cent respectively.

3.5.10 Fifty-six per cent of custodial sentences for non-sexual crimes of violence and 95 per cent of custodial sentences for handling an offensive weapon were for a period of up to 2 years.

Chart 3: Average sentence length (excluding life sentences) and per cent of custody, by crime or offence group, 2011-12

Chart 3: Average sentence length (excluding life sentences) and per cent of custody, by crime or offence group, 2011-12

Community sentences

3.5.11 February 2011 saw the introduction of Community Payback Orders (CPO), making 2011-12 the first full financial year for which this disposal was available. 63 per cent of community sentences were CPOs. The number of all other community sentences decreased accordingly (making comparisons to previous year's figures for disposal types impossible).

3.5.12 Sixteen per cent (16,916) of all convictions in 2011-12 resulted in a main penalty of a community sentence. The number of community sentences increased by 8 per cent from 2010-11 (15,616).

3.5.13 Community sentences were given out for all categories of crime. Common assault and breach of the peace account for 41 per cent of community sentences (23 and 18 per cent, respectively).

Financial penalties

3.5.14 The use of fines, the most common main penalty imposed by courts, fell 12 per cent from 66,491 in 2010-11 to 58,388 in 2011-12. As a proportion of all penalties imposed, fines have generally fallen over the last 10 years, from 64 per cent in 2002-03 to 54 per cent in 2011-12. This may be, in part, a result of some of those offences likely to have previously been punished by fines now being dealt with outside the court with police or COPFS disposals.

3.5.15 In 2011-12, 93 per cent of convictions for motor vehicle offences resulted in a fine (1 per cent lower than in 2010-11). Other crimes with high proportions of fines include drunkenness (52 per cent), drugs crimes (49 per cent), vandalism (45 per cent) and offences relating to prostitution (43 per cent).

3.5.16 The average fine imposed by courts on individuals (excluding companies) in 2011-12 was £241, up 12 per cent from 2010-11 (£215). The use of a compensation order as a main penalty fell by 14 per cent to 929 in 2011-12; the average compensation order imposed by courts, either as main or secondary penalty, was £423 in 2011-12 up 8 per cent from 2010-11.

Other sentences

3.5.17 In 2011-12, 15,586 people convicted were cautioned or admonished (14 per cent of all convictions). This sentence was a more frequent outcome for offences relating to prostitution (49 per cent), drunkenness (35 per cent), crimes against public justice (32 per cent), and shoplifting (29 per cent).

Chart 4: Average fine and per cent fined by crime or offence group, 2011-12
(Excludes companies)

Chart 4: Average fine and per cent fined by crime or offence group, 2011-12

Sentencing by age and gender of offender

3.5.18 The profile of penalties imposed in 2011-12 varied with the age and gender of the offender. This is likely to reflect the different patterns of offending and conviction histories of the different groups of offenders. While males accounted for 84 per cent of all convictions in 2010-11, they represented 91 per cent of custodial convictions. Females accounted for 16 per cent of all convictions and were given 26 per cent of other sentences (mainly admonition).

3.5.19 Although the number of convictions fell 6 per cent in 2011-12, the number of convictions fell by more for younger offenders than for older offenders. The number of convictions for males under-21 fell by 13 per cent, for males aged 21-to-30 convictions fell by 7 per cent and for males aged over-30 convictions fell by 4 per cent. A similar pattern is seen for females - for those under-21 convictions fell by 12 per cent, for females aged 21-to-30 convictions fell by 9 per cent, and for females aged over-30 convictions fell by 2 per cent.

3.5.20 The proportion of males receiving a custodial sentence was higher than the proportion of females sentenced to custody in almost every category of crime and offence. It should be noted that sentence is affected by, amongst other things, the particular circumstances of each crime/offence, offending history and offender background.

3.5.21 Of those sentenced to custody in 2011-12, 78 per cent of females and 67 per cent of males received a tariff of 6 months or less. The proportion of males who received a short sentence was lower than the proportion of females for many of the crime categories in which relatively higher numbers of both gender were convicted; for example, 71 per cent of males and 83 per cent of females who were sentenced to custody for common assault received a sentence of 6 months or less. However for some crime categories, particularly where the numbers of females given custody were relatively small (e.g. other crimes of dishonesty), the proportion of males who received shorter sentences was higher than the proportion of females.

3.5.22 The number of convictions resulting in a community sentence increased by 8 per cent between 2010-11 and 2011-12. The largest increase for both males and females were for those aged over 30 (15 per cent and 20 per cent respectively), whilst those aged under 21 saw the greatest decreases (5 per cent for both males and females).

3.5.23 Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, the number of convictions resulting in a financial penalty fell by 12 per cent (a decrease of 13 per cent for males to 50,262, and a decrease of 12 per cent for females to 8,978). For both males and females large falls were seen in the use of financial penalties for those aged under 21 (a fall of 24 per cent for males to 5,362, and a fall of 18 per cent for females to 745).

3.6 Bail and Undertakings

Bail Orders Made

Tables 13, 14, 15 & 16

3.6.1 The total number of bail orders made by Scottish courts in 2011-12 was 47,690, an increase of 3 per cent from 2010-11, the first increase since 2006-07.

3.6.2 In 2011-12, 84 per cent of bail orders were issued to males and 44 per cent were issued to males and females aged over 30. Most bail orders were issued at sheriff courts (90 per cent), with district/JP courts issuing 10 per cent of the remainder.

3.6.3 The proportion of bail orders given for common assault has increased from 16 per cent of bail orders in 2002-03 to 23 per cent in 2011-12; in contrast, the proportion of bail orders given for dishonesty has fallen from 28 per cent in 2002-03 to 18 per cent in 2011-12.

3.6.4 The relative proportions of bail orders issued for each offence type in 2011-12 remained broadly the same as in 2010-11. 3.6.5 The 47,690 bail orders made in 2011-12 were issued to 34,791 individuals; 77 per cent of individuals received one bail order, 15 per cent received two, 5 per cent received three and 3 per cent received more than three bail orders. These proportions are the same as in 2010-11.

Undertakings to Appear

Table 17

3.6.6 The number of people released by the police on an undertaking to appear in court in 2011-12 was 26,118, down 4 per cent from 27,297 in 2010-11.

3.6.7 In 2011-12, 77 per cent of undertakings were issued to males and 45 per cent to males and females aged over 30.

Bail-related offences

Table 18

3.6.8 Bail-related offences (other than committing an offence on bail) covers the offences of breach of bail conditions (e.g. interfering with a witness) and failure to appear in court after being granted bail. A total of 8,843 of these offences were proved in 2011-12, an increase of 7 per cent from 2010-11. The number of bail-related offences as a percentage of bail orders granted in 2011-12 was 19 per cent.

3.6.9 The number of bail-related offences decreased by 9 per cent in sheriff solemn courts (from 227 in 2010-11 to 207 in 2011-12), compared to a rise in the overall number of charges proved in that court of 3 per cent. In contrast, the number of bail-related offences increased by 3 per cent in district/JP courts in 2011-12 (from 649 in 2010-11 to 668 in 2011-12), compared to an overall fall in the number of charges proved in that court of 13 per cent (see Table 3).

3.7 Police Disposals

Tables 19 to 23

A range of options are available to the police for minor offences, including anti-social behaviour fixed penalty notices, formal adult warnings, restorative justice warnings and warning letters for juvenile offenders, and a number of other types of warnings. More details on this are available in annex notes C5 and D2.

Anti-Social Behaviour Fixed Penalty Notices (ASBFPN)

3.7.1 In 2011-12, 53,624 people received an ASBFPN as a main penalty, down 1 per cent from 54,345 in 2010-11. 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).
  • 13,777 for breach of the peace (26 per cent).
  • 12,487 for urinating/defecating in circumstances causing annoyance to others (23 per cent).

3.7.2 Males received 87 per cent of ASBFPNs in 2011-12.

  • 27 per cent of all ASBFPNs were given to males aged under 21.
  • 35 per cent were given to males aged 21 to 30.
  • Half of the 14,630 ASBFPNs given to males aged under 21 were given for consuming alcohol in a public place (7,322).

3.7.3 Females received 6,837 ASBFPNs in 2011-12, mainly for two offences;

  • consuming alcohol in a public place (49 per cent).
  • breach of the peace (38 per cent).

Formal Adult Warnings (FAW)

3.7.4 Police FAWs were given as a main penalty to 8,382 people in 2011-12, up 12 per cent from 7,517 in 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).
  • breach of the peace (11 per cent).

3.7.5 In 2011-12, 60 per cent of people given FAWs as main penalties were male (5,012) and 51 per cent were aged over 30 (4,262). Of the 2,520 FAWs issued to males aged over 30, 34 per cent were given for drunkenness. In contrast, of the 1,238 FAWs issued to males aged under 21, 7 per cent were for drunkenness; for this age and gender group, 18 per cent of FAWs were given for shoplifting and 15 per cent for common assault.

3.7.6 Forty-seven per cent of the 3,368 FAWs issued to females in 2011-12 were for shoplifting. Eleven per cent of FAWs issued to females aged over 30 were for drunkenness compared to 7 per cent of FAWs issued to females aged under 21. In contrast, 15 per cent of FAWs issued to females aged under 21 were for fraud compared to 3 per cent of FAWs issued to females aged over 30).

Other police warnings

3.7.7. In 2011-12 the number of restorative justice warnings issued as a main penalty fell 44 per cent (from 1,726 to 970). The number of warning letters issued by the police or children's reporter increased by 2 per cent, from 2,119 to 2,160 in 2011-12.

3.7.8 Other police warnings increased six-fold in 2011-12, from 304 to 2,330. This is the result of a large increase in the issue of police verbal warnings.

3.8 Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) disposals

Tables 24 to 28

When a report is submitted by the police to the procurator fiscal, prosecution in court is only one of a range of possible options for dealing with people who have been charged. Other possible actions include the use of fiscal fines, compensation orders and fixed penalties. More details on this new information are available in annex notes C5 and D3.

3.8.1 In 2011-12, 42,173 people were issued with a fiscal fine as a main penalty (up 18 per cent from 35,604 in 2010-11) and 21,064 people were issued a fiscal fixed penalty (up 3 per cent from 20,357 in 2010-11).

Fiscal fines

3.8.2 In 2011-12, 55 per cent of the 42,173 fiscal fines issued to people as main penalties were issued for 'miscellaneous' offences, including:

  • 11,221 (27 per cent) Communications Act offences (mainly TV licensing).
  • 3,649 (9 per cent) for alcohol byelaw offences.
  • 3,583 (8 per cent) for breach of the peace.
  • A further 27 per cent of fiscal fines were issued for 'other' crimes, mainly drugs offences (11,174; 26 per cent).
  • 12 per cent were issued for crimes of dishonesty, including 3,994 (9 per cent) for shoplifting.

3.8.3 Two-thirds of fiscal fines in 2011-12 were issued to males (67 per cent). The profile of crimes/offences for which fiscal fines were issued differed for males and females. For example, 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).
  • Drugs (8 per cent).

while for males, of the 28,426 fiscal fines issued, the most common crimes/offences for which they were given were:

  • Drugs (35 per cent).
  • Communications Act offences (12 per cent).
  • Alcohol byelaw offences (11 per cent).

3.8.4 Males aged under 21 received 19 per cent of fiscal fines issued to males (5,284), while females aged under 21 received 8 per cent of those issued to females (1,058). Over two-thirds of fiscal fines issued to males aged under 21 were issued for drugs crimes (45 per cent), breach of the peace (13 per cent) or alcohol byelaw offences (12 per cent). Fiscal fines for Communications Act offences were less likely to go to those aged under 21.

3.8.5 Younger females received relatively more fiscal fines for other sub-categories of miscellaneous offences, for example:

  • common assault - 11 per cent of fiscal fines issued to females aged under 21 compared to 2 per cent of those issued to females aged over 30.
  • breach of the peace - 13 per cent of fiscal fines issued to females aged under 21 compared to 5 per cent of those issued to females aged over 30.

Fiscal fixed penalties

3.8.6 Crown Office Fixed Penalties (COFPs) are generally issued for motor vehicle offences (in 2011-12 a handful of COFPs were issued for other non motor vehicle offences, such as bicycle offences). In 2011-12, of the 21,064 COFPs issued to people as a main penalty:

  • 37 per cent were for speeding offences.
  • 17 per cent were for documentation offences (such as using a vehicle without a test certificate, without a licence or failure to insure).
  • 12 per cent were for signal and direction offences (such as failure to comply with traffic signs and crossings).
  • 5 per cent were for lighting and construction and use offences (such as maintenance of lights and using vehicles in a dangerous condition); and,
  • 27 per cent for other motor vehicle offences (such as seat belt and mobile telephone offences).

3.8.7 In 2011-12, 79 per cent of COFPs (16,699) were issued to males and over half of all COFPs were issued to males aged over 30 (11,066).


Contact

Email: Howard Hooper