Diversion from prosecution: joint review

A joint review of diversion from prosecution carried out by HM Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland, HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland and the Care Inspectorate

Appendix 1 – Key terms

Accused person: person charged with committing a crime.

Alcohol and drug partnerships (ADPs): multi-agency strategic partnerships focused on alcohol and drugs issues in their local areas. ADPs are responsible for developing local strategies for tackling, reducing and preventing problem alcohol and drug use.

Alternative to prosecution: the prosecutor may decide instead of prosecuting an accused in court that it is more appropriate and in the public interest that an alternative to prosecution is offered.

Bail: an accused person's status when they have been allowed to remain at liberty (i.e. not imprisoned) pending the conclusion of their case, subject to conditions.

Care Inspectorate: the Care Inspectorate is the independent scrutiny, assurance and improvement support body for social care and social work in Scotland. Further information is available on the Care Inspectorate website.

Case Management Unit (CMU): the local area units within Police Scotland which review all SPRs to ensure that they meet the required standard for prosecution.

Case marker: the prosecutor who makes the initial decision on how to proceed with a case.

Case marking: decision by the prosecutor of action to be taken in a case.

Case marking instructions: Essential guidance and direction for prosecutors making initial decisions on reports from the police and other agencies.

Charge: the crime that the accused person is suspected of having committed.

Child: a person under the age of 18, as defined in the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

Children and Young People's Centre for Justice (CYCJ): an organisation which supports improvements in youth justice in Scotland. For further information, visit the CYCJ website.

Community justice outcomes improvement plans: plans setting out how community justice partners are achieving national and local outcomes.

Community Justice Partnerships (CJPs): these comprise community justice partners as defined in the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 coming together locally to assess the community justice-related needs of people and communities in their area and ensure that appropriate services and interventions are in place. The community justice partners are set out at Figure 1.

Community Justice Scotland: the national body with responsibility to promote the National Strategy for Community Justice; to monitor, promote and support improvement in, and keep Scottish Ministers informed about, performance in the provision of community justice; to promote and support improvement in the quality and range of provision of community justice; and to promote public awareness of benefits arising from community justice.

Community planning partnerships: a community planning partnership is the name given to all those services that come together to take part in community planning.

Complainer: the person who made the allegation.

Criminal Justice Services Division: the division within Police Scotland that provides national oversight of police custody and other criminal justice functions relevant to policing.

Crown Counsel: collective term for the Law Officers (Lord Advocate and Solicitor General) and Advocate Deputes.

Crown Counsel's instructions: instructions by Crown Counsel to prosecutors.

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS): the independent public prosecution service in Scotland. It is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of crime, the investigation of sudden, unexplained or suspicious deaths, and the investigation of criminal allegations against the police. Also referred to in this report as 'the Crown'.

Direct measures: options available to police and procurator fiscal following an alleged offence; for example a warning, a fine or unpaid community work.

European Framework for Quality Management (EFQM) Model: the globally recognised management framework that supports organisations in managing change and improving performance.

First substantive marking: the first significant decision of action to be taken.

Fixed penalty notices: on-the-spot fine for a minor offence, issued by the police.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS): the inspectorate body that provides independent scrutiny of both Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority. For more information, visit the HMICS website.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland (HMIPS): the inspectorate body that is responsible for the inspection and monitoring of Scotland's prisons. For more information, visit the HMIPS website.

HM Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland (IPS): the inspectorate body that is responsible for inspecting the operation of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). For more information, visit the IPS website.

Justice social work: responsible for delivering a range of services for those involved in the justice system. This includes the completion of reports for courts and the Parole Board and the supervision of individuals on statutory social work orders and licences.

Lord Advocate: Ministerial Head of COPFS. She is the senior of the two Law Officers, the other being the Solicitor General.

National Initial Case Processing unit (NICP): the national unit within COPFS where initial decisions are made in relation to alternatives to prosecutions and prosecutions in the Justice of the Peace Courts or Sheriff Courts before a judge without a jury.

Operational instructions: internal documentary guidance that informs COPFS staff of essential policies and updated guidance.

Paraprofessional: this is a term used to denote a variety of roles including social work assistants and justice officers.

Procurator fiscal/prosecutor: public prosecutor in Scotland who makes decisions on action to be taken in relation to crimes reported by the police and other agencies. They also investigate all sudden and suspicious deaths.

Public Protection Committees: public protection is a generic term used to describe a range of local structures to respond to child protection, adult support and protection, Violence Against Women and Girls Networks, people convicted of high-risk offending via Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements and suicide prevention. Local structures for governance and accountability regarding these processes may vary in local areas and can include Public Protection Committees.

Rebuttable presumption against the prosecution of children: a Crown policy against the prosecution of children unless evidence or other factors prove otherwise.

Recorded police warnings: use of police officers' discretion when dealing with minor offences.

Reporting officer: the term used for a police officer undertaking the completion of an SPR.

Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA): the public body responsible for protecting children at risk and intervening in cases where children commit criminal offences.

Social Work Scotland: the professional leadership body for the social work and social care professions.

Solemn level proceedings: prosecution of serious criminal cases before a judge and a jury in the High Court or Sheriff Court.

Structured deferred sentence: a structured intervention for people convicted of an offence but before final sentencing.

Sufficiency of evidence: evidence from at least two independent sources that the crime was committed and that the accused was the perpetrator of the crime.

Third sector: charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups supporting communities at a local level.

Time bar: the end of the time limit which regulates the maximum length of time that can elapse prior to the commencement of proceedings for accused persons.

Undertaking: the document signed by someone who has been arrested and released on police bail after promising to come to court at a later date and agreeing to certain conditions, such as not committing any other crimes.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: the international human rights treaty that grants all children and young people (under 18 years of age) a comprehensive set of human rights.

Victim Information and Advice (VIA) service: a service provided by COPFS which offers assistance to some victims and witnesses.

Victim Support Scotland: an independent charity which provides support and information to victims and witnesses of crime.

Waiver approach: give up the right to take any alternate prosecutorial action at the point at which the diversion scheme is offered and accepted.

Youth justice unit: specialist units within Police Scotland that operate in some local areas and collaborate with local statutory partners in respect of youth offending.


Email: IPS@gov.scot

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