Policing and prosecution of crimes associated with prostitution: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

The following information relation to the policing and prosecution of crimes/offences associated with prostitution.

  1. A list of the crimes/offences associated with prostitution which are covered by the Scottish Government’s statistical bulletins on recorded crime and criminal proceedings (referred to below as ‘prostitution offences’) and where they sit within the more general categories used in bulletins.
  2. In relation to recorded crime, annual recorded crime/offence figures for each of the individual prostitution offences covering the latest 10 years available. A longer time period (say 20 years) and/or any geographical breakdown would also be useful.
  3. In relation to criminal proceedings, annual figures for the number of people proceeded against in court or receiving some form of alternative to prosecution for each of the individual prostitution offences covering the latest 10 years. A longer period and/or data on outcomes as well a sex of accused/offender would also be useful.
  4. Any published police or prosecution guidance relating to the enforcement of prostitution offences. I am aware that the prosecution has published guidance on the enforcement of soliciting and loitering offences by purchasers.


I enclose a copy of the information you requested.

1. Within the Recorded Crime in Scotland statistical bulletins we publish information by Crime Group and Crime Type. These groups are constructed purely for statistical purposes. Below is a list of crimes/offences associated with prostitution, these are all recorded within the Crime Type ‘Crimes associated with prostitution’, which sits within the ‘Sexual Crimes’ Crime Group.

  • Procuration (excluding homosexual acts)
  • Brothel keeping
  • Immoral traffic
  • Offences related to prostitution
  • Procuration of homosexual acts
  • Soliciting services of a person engaged in prostitution

Annex A provides a list of the legislation covered by each of the six crimes listed above.

2. Table 1 of the attached spreadsheet provides police recorded crime data for the above six crimes from 2003/04 to 2022/03. Table 2 provides the same data, but split by local authority.

3. Table 3 of the attached spreadsheet provides data on People proceeded under crimes associated with prostitution, where main charge, by gender, 2012-13 to 2021-22. Table 4 provides data on People convicted under crimes associated with prostitution, where main charge, by gender, 2012-13 to 2021- 22.

4. The Scottish Crime Recording Standard: Crime Recording and Counting Rules is published on the Scottish Government website.

The Counting Rules provide a national standard for the recording and counting of crimes and offences recorded by the Police Service of Scotland. Not every crime code is covered in this document, however some of the ones you are interested in are. I’ve listed the crimes and relevant pages below, it will be easiest to find these using the PDF version, found in the Supporting documents tab.

  • Procuration (excluding homosexual acts) (18/001) – pg 338
  • Offences related to prostitution (18/010) – pg 326
  • Procuration of homosexual acts (18/012) – pg 361
  • Soliciting services of a person engaged in prostitution (18/017) – pg 340

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

FOI 202300383839 - Information Released - Annex A
FOI 202300383839 - Information Released - Data Tables


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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