Summary of offences dealt with by courts, sentencing outcomes and characteristics of convicted offenders. Additional information on non-court penalties issued by the Police and Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service.

6. People convicted by offence group

(Tables 4a and 4b)

All “offence” convictions totalled 70,052 in 2014-15. As a proportion of all offences, common assault and breach of the peace made up 39 per cent while speeding and unlawful use of a vehicle account for a further third (32 per cent). These proportions have remained at similar levels since 2005-06.

By offence group: Motor vehicle offences

Motor vehicle offence convictions declined by 3 per cent from 40,287 convictions in 2013-14 to 38,945 in 2014-15. This drop follows a marked rise of 14 per cent in motor vehicle offences in 2013-14 which was attributed, in part, to Police Scotland prioritising those types of offences at the time. Priorities have since shifted and declines have been observed for each of the motor vehicle offence groups, in particular:

  • Dangerous and careless driving convictions down 5 per cent from 3,576 in 2013-14 to 3,412 in 2014-15; and
  • Seat belt offence convictions down 14 per cent from 2,539 to 2,172.

On December 5th 2014 the alcohol limit for drivers in Scotland reduced from 80 mg to 50 mg per 100 ml blood. As the drink-drive limit was changed well through the reporting year of 2014-15 it won’t be until the publication of 2015-16 criminal proceedings statistics before we have comparable figures showing whether the reduced limit has had any impact on the number of people convicted of drink driving.

Convictions for driving under the influence decreased by 10 per cent from 4,091 in 2013-14 to 3,676 in 2014-15. This is the 8th consecutive year that driving under the influence convictions have fallen with levels now 54 per cent below the 2006-07 peak of 8,066 convictions.

By offence group: Miscellaneous Offences

The vast majority of “miscellaneous offences” are breach of the peace and common assault offences. These showed the following increases for convictions between 2013-14 and 2014-15:

  • An increase in the number of convictions in the breach of the peace category, up 13 per cent from 13,731 to 15,580 convictions. This has been driven by a rise in the number of “threatening or abusive behaviour” and stalking convictions, offences that are classified within the breach of the peace total. These are associated with an increase in the number of domestic abuse cases that have been brought to court in the latest year. Section 12 provides more information on trends in offences with a domestic abuse aggravator recorded; and
  • A rise in convictions for common assault, up 5 per cent from 11,218 to 11,758 convictions.

Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012

The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 criminalises offensive or threatening behaviour in relation to regulated football matches that is likely to incite public disorder. The Act also criminalises making communications which contain threats of serious violence, or which contain threats intended to incite religious hatred. Crimes under the Act are categorised within the breach of the peace crime type. However, depending on the circumstances offences of disorderly and offensive behaviour at football matches could also be prosecuted under other breach of the peace charges such as threatening and abusive behaviour under section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.

Table A shows that there were 79 people convicted for offences under the Act in 2014-15, when compared against the number of cases where proceedings have concluded, this represents a conviction rate of 82 per cent. It is important to bear in mind that the number of people proceeded against for these offences is low and the conviction rate varies considerably from year to year.

Table A: People proceeded against under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 20121





Offensive Behaviour at Football






Not guilty





Threatening Communications






Not guilty





Total convictions





Total proceedings





Conviction rate





1- Where main charge

Please note that these statistics on these offences under the Act are not directly comparable with the COPFS report Hate Crime in Scotland or the Scottish Government evaluations of section 1 or section 6 of the Act. These outputs use COPFS figures which measure individual charges at the case marking stage rather than activity in the courts. As Criminal Proceedings statistics only measure the main charge in a case it would be expected that the COPFS figures would be higher. Please see Annex C for more detail on COPFS data sources.


Email: Gillian Diggins

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