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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1. Trends in people proceeded against and convicted

(Tables 1 and 2a and 2b, 3a and 3b)

Unless otherwise stated, references in this bulletin to the crime or offence group for which a person is proceeded against or convicted relate to the main charge involved. If there are multiple charges libelled on a Complaint or Indictment, and thereafter proven against an accused in a single proceeding, the main charge is the crime or offence receiving the most severe penalty (as defined in Annex C). The final column of Table 3b provides counts of individual crimes or offences with a charge proven regardless of whether or not it was the main crime or offence involved. Please note that where an accused is subject to multiple separate proceedings, that accused is counted multiple times in the figures presented in this bulletin.

A total of 67,643 people were proceeded against in Court in 2021-22, a rise of 45% on 2020-21 (46,590 proceedings). The number of convictions rose 39% over the same span, to 59,295 from 2020-21 (42,614). This rise follows a steep fall as a result of reduced court activity during the pandemic. There has been an overall downward trend over the most recent 10 years (Chart 2).

Chart 2. Over the longer term proceedings and convictions have declined. People proceeded against and convicted in Scottish courts, 2012-13 to 2021-22.
chart with two lines, one showing people proceeded against and the other showing people conviction. Both lines show a general downwards trend over 10 years, with both lines starting above 100,000 in 2012-13. 2021-22 shows a rise from the pandemic-affected data of 2020-21, but still lower than pre-pandemic levels.

The rise in the number of convictions between 2020-21 and 2021-22 has been led by an increase in absolute numbers for: Speeding (up 103% to 4,465), Threatening and abusive behaviour (up 33% to 9,136) and Unlawful use of vehicle (up 64% to 5,416). Together these three offence categories represented 29% of convictions in 2020-21 and 32% in 2021-22.



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