Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, 2021-22

Statistics on criminal proceedings concluded in Scottish courts and alternative measures to prosecution issued by the police and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service are presented for the 10 years from 2012-13 to 2021-22. The latest two years of data were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This document is part of a collection

Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, 2021-22

This bulletin forms part of the Scottish Government series of statistical bulletins on the criminal justice system. 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. Detailed figures for 2021-22 are presented, along with selected trends for the most recent 10 years.

These figures demonstrate the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the justice system. Although 2021-22 did not see the same court closures as 2020-21, this period spanned the early stages of the vaccine rollout, reduced court capacities due to physical distancing measures and delays to proceedings where key particpiants were forced to isolate following positive COVID-19 tests. Whilst overall volumes in 2021-22 showed an increase over the 2020-21 figures, they remained below a typical pre-pandemic year. Although the impact of the pandemic is evident in these latest figures, caution should be taken in attributing any changes entirely to this ongoing situation. As the data continues to be affected by the pandemic and the justice system’s recovery, figures for 2021-22, alongside those from 2020-21, should not be considered indicative of longer-term trends.

headline trends in Criminal Proceedings in Scotland for the period 2012-13 to 2021-22. The first chart is a line chart showing the total number of convictions over this 10 year span. It shows a 39% increase from 42,614 in 2020-21 to 59,295 in 2021-22 and a decreasing long term trend, with 101,017 in 2012-13. The second chart is a line chart showing that average length of custodial sentences has increased by 32% in 10 years, from 284 days in 2012-13 to 376 days in 2021-22. Additional data shows this is driven by a smaller proportion of shorter sentences compared to longer sentences over the same span. A third chart shows that in 2021-22 sentences given were 45% financial penalties, 24% community sentences, 17% other sentences and 14% custodial sentences. The remaining two charts refer to non-court disposals given by the police and Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (COPFS), respectively. The first of these shows that nearly two-thirds of police disposals are Recorded Police Warnings, with the rest made up of 17% Anti-social Behaviour Fixed Penalty Notices and 17% Early and Effective Interventions. The second of these shows that three-quarters of COPFS disposals are Fiscal fines and fixed penalties, with the two contributing equally. The remaining COPFS disposals were 16% fiscal warnings, 9% fiscal combined fine plus compensation and 2% fiscal compensation.



Back to top