Criminal proceedings in Scotland: 2018-2019

Statistics are presented on criminal proceedings concluded in Scottish courts and on a range of measures available as alternatives to prosecution, which are issued by the police and by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

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Annex E – Legislative and policy changes

Legislative changes

E.1 The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 introduced an offence relating to a person engaging in a course of behaviour relating to domestic abuse. There is also a provision for a new statutory aggravation relating to children, which is aggravated if the offence directs behaviour at a child, or uses a child to direct behaviour at the partner/ex-partner. It came into force on 1 April 2019, and therefore has no effect on these statistics.

E.2 A UK Act – specifically section 137 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, came into force in Scotland during the year, and together with Schedule 16, brought into force extended driving disqualifications where offenders were sentenced, or already subject to, periods of detention.

It may be useful for users to be aware of other recent changes to legislation:

E.3 The Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016 introduced a new statutory aggravation for domestic abuse which came into force in April 2017. This act also covers 'intimate images' offences (often known as 'revenge porn').

E.4 Sections 79-81 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 ("the 2016 Act") made significant changes to the sheriff and jury procedures contained in the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 ("the 1995 Act"), and were introduced over three dates during the period May to August 2017. This may feed through to average sentence lengths because it allows sentence discounts for early guilty pleas.

E.5 The 2016 Act - Part I (Police powers) came into force on 25 January 2018. The provisions, amongst other matters, transferred written undertaking provisions from the 1995 Act to Part I of the 2016 Act.

E.6 On December 5th 2014 the alcohol limit for drivers in Scotland was reduced from 80 mg to 50 mg per 100 ml blood.

E.7 The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012, which came into effect on 1 March 2012, was repealed on
20 April 2018. We publish here for completeness a table of proceedings under
this act as they stand up to the end of 2018-19.

People proceeded againstunder the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 20121

2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
Section 1: Offensive Behaviour at Football
Convictions 2 67 86 76 130 157 110 8
Proceedings 2 91 154 90 172 229 139 11
Section 6: Threatening Communications
Convictions - 2 6 3 1 1 4 -
Proceedings - 2 7 6 2 1 4 -
Section 1 and 6
Total convictions 2 69 92 79 131 158 114 8
Total proceedings 2 93 161 96 174 230 143 11
Conviction rate 100% 74% 57% 82% 75% 69% 80% 73%

1- Where main charge

E.8 Aside from the changes mentioned above, there have been no other major legislative changes throughout 2018-19 which impact on the comparability of the statistics. However, it should be noted that legislation introduced in years prior to 2018-19 will continue to have an impact on the statistics as people are charged under the new legislation and proceeded against in court.



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