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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5. People convicted by crime or offence

(Tables 3a and 3b)

This publication divides breaches of criminal law into (a) crimes and (b) offences. This distinction is made only for statistical reporting purposes. Although the breaches allocated under “crimes” can generally be considered to be more serious, there are some “offences” that have more severe punishments associated with them than “crimes”. The Scottish Government has recently introduced a new classification of crimes and offences following a consultation in response to user needs. The full paper Presenting official statistics on recorded crime and related topics: consultation provides users with more information on background to the consultation and the new grouping structure for the presentation of crime statistics section provides a full breakdown of the new classification structure. The biggest change is the transfer of Common assault and Stalking from the Miscellaneous offences group to the Non-sexual crimes of violence group.

In 2021-22 crimes made up 29,609 of the total number of convictions (50%) while offences stood at 29,686 (50%). The increase from 2020-21 to 2021-22 was higher for offences (up 59% or 10,971 convictions) than for crimes (up 24% or 5,710 convictions).

Rises in convictions for crimes have been driven by increases in the number of Non-sexual crimes of violence (up 37% or 2,460 convictions) and Crimes against society (up 21% or 2,116 convictions). The largest contributors to this increase was Common assault (up 33% or 1,632 convictions).

Most of the increase in convictions for offences is due to rises in the number of convictions for Speeding (up 2,263), Threatening and abusive behaviour (up 2,243) and Unlawful use of vehicle (up 2,107).



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