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.

10. Community Sentences

(Tables 7 and 8a-c)

Community sentence is a collective term for the ways that courts can punish someone convicted of committing an offence other than by serving a custodial sentence. There is a wide range of options available in the Scottish courts, which are listed at Annex D.

Seventeen per cent (or 18,519) of all convictions in 2014-15 resulted in a main penalty of a community sentence. These account for a higher proportion of the total court sentences than ten years ago, up 5 percentage points from 12 per cent in 2005-06.

Chart 10: Persons issued community sentences, 2005-06 to 2014-15

Chart 10: Persons issued community sentences, 2005-06 to 2014-15

Community Payback Orders (CPO) enable the courts to impose a range of requirements including unpaid work and supervision as well as being put through a programme of rehabilitation to address their behaviours (see Annex E for full details). As CPOs replaced probation and community service orders the number of people receiving CPOs rose sharply to 16,375 in 2013-14. Numbers increased less dramatically in 2014-15 up to 16,693 people (up 2 per cent from 2013-14), representing 90 per cent of all community sentences.

A Restriction of Liberty Order (RLO) is a court order that requires a person to remain within a location, usually their home, at times specified by the court. A person's compliance with the order is monitored electronically. RLOs made up 6 per cent of people receiving community sentences in 2014-15 (1,172 RLOs), rising 9 per cent from 1,078 in 2013-14. Please note that these statistics on RLOs will not match the statistics published by G4S, the Scottish Government’s contractor for electronic monitoring. This is because the statistics in this publication are representative of the main charge in a set of proceedings and will mask RLOs issued for secondary charges. By contrast the G4S figures count all RLOs issued by the courts relating to all charges.

The number of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) dropped by 9 per cent from 2013-14 levels to 538 people. These are designed to reduce or stop offending by addressing problem drug use through the provision or access to a closely monitored treatment programme.

In 2014-15 the most common crimes/offences for which community sentences were for given were:

  • Breach of the peace – 3,623 people or 20 per cent of all community sentences;
  • Common assault – 3,481 people or 19 per cent; and
  • Crimes against public justice – 2,475 people or 13 per cent.


Email: Gillian Diggins

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