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

6. People convicted by crime group

(Tables 3a and 3b)

Non-sexual crimes of violence

Non-sexual crimes of violence include: Murder and cupable homicide, Causing death by dangerous driving, Serious assault and attempted murder, Common assault, Robbery, Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 and Other non-sexual violence. Convictions for these types of crimes increased by 37%, from 6,608 in 2020-21 to 9,068 in 2021-22. Pre-pandemic (2019-20), there were 11,044 such convictions.

The number of Murder and culpable homicide convictions was 48 in 2021-22, an increase of 100% from the 24 seen in 2020-21. Convictions for Causing death by driving dangerously rose 17% between 2020-21 (23) and 2021-22 (27). The number of people convicted for Serious assault and attempted murder increased by 45% from 682 in 2020-21 to 992 in 2021-22. Common assault convictions rose by 33% over the same span, increasing from 4,884 in 2020-21 to 6,516 in 2021-22. Convictions for Robbery rose by 6%, from 283 in 2020-21 to 299 in 2021-22. The number of convictions for Other non-sexual violence (see Annex D13 for the types of crime this includes) increased 50%, from 331 convictions in 2020-21 to 497 in 2021-22.

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 (DASA) came into effect on 1 April 2019 for crimes committed on or after this date, and were included in the 2019-20 bulletin for the first time, however as the full course of conduct has to have taken place on or after 1 April 2019 the time lag before such crimes could be reported meant the 2019-20 bulletin did not effectively cover a full year under the act. The previous 2020-21 bulletin included the first full year under the act, but the numbers were impacted by reduced court activity due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Note that in the past, these crimes will often have been convicted under individual charges in other crimes or offences categories, including Other non-sexual violence, Breach of the peace etc. and Threatening and abusive behaviour. See also Section 13, which shows the number of crimes and offences that had an aggravation of domestic abuse recorded against them. There were 689 convictions under this act in 2021-22. This is an increase of 81% over the 381 convictions in 2020-21.

Sexual crimes

Sexual crimes include: Rape and attempted rape, Sexual assault, Causing to view sexual activity or images, Communicating indecently, Threatening to or disclosing intimate images, Indecent photos of children, Crimes associated with prostitution and Other sexual crimes. Convictions for these types of crimes increased by 52%, from 841 in 2020-21 to 1,279 in 2021-22. This is the only crime group to exceed its’ pre-pandemic (2019-20) total (1,227 convictions).

The number of convictions for Rape and attempted rape increased by 105% (from 78 in 2020-21 to 160 in 2021-22). The figure for 2021-22 is the highest since comparable records began in 1990 and exceeds the previous peak of 142 seen in 2018-19. The number of proceedings for these crimes increased to a greater extent by 123% between 2020-21 and 2021-22 and the total number of prosecutions in 2021-22 (336) is also the highest seen since 1990. The conviction rate for Rape and attempted rape decreased in 2021-22, falling four percentage points from 52% in 2020-21 to 48% in 2021-22. The conviction rate fluctuates year to year and has ranged between 40% (2016-17) and 56% (2012-13) across the most recent 10 years. Please note that recording delays are typical for high court activity due to the complex nature of cases held there. As a result the number of proceedings and convictions for Rape and attempted rape for 2021-22 may be slightly underestimated. More information is available in the Annex B revisions section.

Chart 4. Longer term trends in Rape and attempted rape and Sexual assault convictions [Note 1] show general increases. Rape and attempted rape and Sexual assault convictions in Scottish courts, 2012-13 to 2021-22.
showing the number of convictions for Sexual assault, and Rape & attempted rape. Sexual assault convictions have increased from 2012-13 to 2019-20, and in 2021-22 were up 79% from the dip in 2020-21. Rape and attempted rape convictions have increased from below 100 in 2012-13 to a 10 year high of over 150 in 2021-22, an increase from the 2020-21 dip.

There were 263 Sexual assault convictions in 2021-22, up 79% since 2020-21 (147 convictions). Prior to 2020-21 the number of convictions for Sexual assault had been increasing, from 204 in 2012-13 to 305 in 2019-20.

Convictions for Causing to view sexual activity or images rose 38% between 2020-21 (158) and 2021-22 (218). Communicating indecently saw convictions rise 60%, from 85 in 2020-21 to 136 in 2021-22. Convictions for Threatening to or disclosing intimate images rose by 50%, from 46 in 2020-21 to 69 in 2021-22. The 69 convictions in 2021-22 are the most since the first prosecutions were recorded in 2017-18.

The number of convictions for Indecent photos of children rose 50% from 196 in 2020-21 to 294 in 2021-22. The long term downward trend for Crimes associated with prostitution continued between 2020-21 and 2021-22, dropping 20% from 10 to eight.

Notes for Sexual crimes

Note 1. Although Sexual crimes includes more categories, for clarity Chart 4 is limited to just Rape and attempted rape and Sexual assault. These two categories both attract the highest proportion of custodial sentences and have the longest average custodial sentence length.

Chart 5. Convictions for Crimes of dishonesty have declined over the long term. Comparison of convictions in Scottish courts for the most common types of Crimes of dishonesty, 2012-13 and 2021-22.
comparing number of convictions for common types of Crimes of dishonesty comparing the two years 2012-13 and 2021-22. For each crime, there were more than double the number of convictions in 2012-13 compared to 2021-22. Shoplifting was the most common, with 6,500 convictions in 2012-13 compared to 2,698 in 2021-22.

Crimes of dishonesty

Convictions for Crimes of dishonesty increased by 7% in 2021-22, up to 5,472 convictions from 5,102 in 2020-21. This was a relatively small increase compared to other crime groups, with the number of convictions remaining around 40% lower than they were in 2019-20. There were increases in all crime types within the Crimes of dishonesty group between 2020-21 and 2021-22.



Back to top