Criminal proceedings in Scotland 2016-17: statistics

Statistics on criminal proceedings concluded in Scottish courts and alternatives to prosecution, issued by the police and by the Crown Office.

11. 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.

Twenty per cent (or 18,600) of all convictions in 2016-17 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 seven percentage points from 13% in 2007-08. There was a two per cent fall in community sentences in 2016-17 from 18,949 in 2015-16.

Chart 10: Persons issued community sentences, 2006-07 to 2015-16

Chart 10: Persons issued community sentences, 2006-07 to 2015-16

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 D for full details). CPOs replaced probation and community service orders for offences committed on or after 1 st February 2011. This is reflected in the statistics, as the number of people receiving CPOs rose sharply between 2010-11 (461 CPOs) and 2013-14 (16,375 CPOs). Numbers declined by five per cent in the year to 2016-17 to 15,918 people, representing 86% 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 12% of people receiving community sentences in 2016-17 (2,200 RLOs), rising 34% from 1,643 in 2015-16. 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.

Drug Treatment and Testing Orders ( DTTOs) are designed to reduce or stop offending by addressing problem drug use through the provision or access to a closely monitored treatment programme. The number of DTTOs dropped by seven per cent from 474 in 2015-16 to 439 in 2016-17. This is the eighth consecutive annual decline, with levels 50% lower than in 2008-09 (885 DTTOs).

Community sentences are available for courts to use in any case where the offence is punishable by imprisonment. In 2016-17 the crimes/offences with the highest proportion of community sentences were for:

Other sexual crimes - 307 people, or 58% of court disposals;

Theft of a motor vehicle - 95 people, or 45%; and

Fire-raising - 38 people, or 45%.


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