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.

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8. Headline in court sentencing

(Tables 6-7)

The main types of penalty or sentence given to those found guilty in Scottish Courts are custodial sentences, community sentences and financial penalties. Sections 9 to 12 provide statistics on these types of punishments. In addition, for less serious cases or where it is felt the main punishment types are not suitable, the individual found guilty can be “admonished” (given a verbal warning from the Sheriff). A full listing of the range of court disposals is outlined in Annex D.

Of all people convicted during 2021-22:

  • 45% were issued financial penalties (26,705)
  • 24% were issued community sentences (14,160), and
  • 14% were issued custodial sentences (8,169).

A further 17% of people were issued other sentences (10,261), which are mostly admonishments (Chart 6).

Chart 6. Longer term trends in sentencing show shifts away from financial penalties and towards community sentences. Proportion of sentence types imposed in Scottish criminal courts, 2012-13, 2020-21 and 2021-22.
Proportion of sentence types imposed in 2012-13, 2020-21 and 2021-22. The highest proportion for each three years was Financial penalty, at 53%, 39% and 45% respectively. The proportion of Community sentences has increased, from 17%, to 23% and finally 24%. The proportion of Custody sentences has fluctuated, from 15% to 17%, and finally 14%.



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