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.

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12. 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 number of financial penalties has been in general decline over the last ten years, dropping from 83,344 in 2007-08, when they accounted for 62% of all disposals. Numbers have continued to decline in the latest year, down by 10% from 49,872 in 2015-16 to 44,999 in 2016-17. This is similar in proportion to the overall decline in convictions.

The median [3] fine imposed by courts on individuals (excluding companies) in 2016-17 was £200, in cash terms [4] . The median fine has increased by 14% over the last 10 years, up from £175 in 2007-08.

The use of compensation orders as a main penalty declined by six per cent to 727 in the year to 2016-17. The median value for compensation orders has risen at a faster rate than for fines, up from £150 in 2007-08 to £250 in 2016-17. Please note that 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 2016-17, 15,228 people were admonished, which represented 16% of all convictions. In 2016-17 the crimes for which admonishments were most frequently given were:

  • Prostitution offences with 64% of all convictions being admonishments (53 convictions);
  • Drunkenness and other disorderly conduct with 55% (38 convictions); and
  • Crimes against public justice with 31% (2,841 convictions).


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