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.

11. Financial penalties and other sentences

(Tables 7 and 8a-c)

The courts can impose fines, which are paid to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS), or compensation orders, which are paid to the victim. The total number of financial penalties made up over half of all disposals imposed by courts in 2014-15 (53 per cent of those with a charge proved).

The number of people issued financial penalties by the courts decreased by 2 per cent from 57,795 in 2013-14 to 56,843 in 2014-15. This drop is in contrast to the increase of 8 per cent in the year to 2013-14 but continues the long-term decline in the number of people issued financial penalties, which has dropped by 33 per cent since the 2006-07 peak (84,820). It is thought the decline in the latest year relates to the decrease in motor vehicle offences, which are more likely to be given financial penalties (93 per cent received a financial penalty in 2014-15).

The median[1] fine imposed by courts on individuals (excluding companies) in 2014-15 was £200, in cash terms[2]. The median fine has increased by a third over the last 10 years, up from £150 in 2005-06. The use of compensation orders as a main penalty declined by 4 per cent to 840 in the year to 2014-15. The median value for a compensation order imposed by courts was £200 in 2014-15. The median cash value of a compensation order has almost doubled since 2005-06 when the median value was £101. Please note compensation orders can be given as an additional punishment to a single offence and hence the median is based on either the main or secondary penalty for specific offences.

Other sentences

“Other sentences” are mostly admonishments (a verbal warning from the sheriff). In 2014-15, 16,418 people were admonished, which represented 15 per cent of all convictions. In 2014-15 the crimes for which admonishments were most frequently given were:

  • Prostitution offences with 48 per cent of all convictions being admonishments (70 convictions);
  • Drunkenness and other disorderly conduct with 32 per cent (37 convictions);
  • Breach of the peace with 29 per cent (4,530 convictions); and
  • Shoplifting with 28 per cent (1,925 convictions).


Email: Gillian Diggins

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