Justice Analytical Services - safer communities and justice statistics monthly report: May 2022 edition

This report provides, in a single place, a concise but comprehensive overview of a number of important justice and safer communities statistics. It covers many different topics including crime, policing, community safety, courts and prisons.

This document is part of a collection

Summary statistics on criminal and civil proceedings

Lowest number of convictions in last 10 years. In 2019-20, the number of people convicted in Scottish courts fell by 4% from 2018-19 to 75,251. This is in line with the general downward trend of the last ten years.

Annual number of people convicted in Scottish courts, as reported by the Scottish Government's criminal proceedings data, 2010-11 to 2019-20. Last updated May 2021. Next update due June 2022.

Fall in convictions in most categories between 2018-19 & 2019-20. There were notable falls in the number of convictions for unlawful use of a motor vehicle (down 18% or 1,358 fewer convictions), drug crimes (down 11% or 575), and shoplifting (down 9% or 533). However, convictions for violent crimes increased by 11% in 2019-20, with more than half of this increase accounted for by new offences under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 (206 convictions).

Rise in community sentences in 2019-20. The number of community sentences in court rose by 7% between 2018-19 and 2019-20, from 15,211 to 16,296. The proportion of all convictions resulting in a community sentence rose to 22%, the highest in the past decade.

Average custodial sentence is almost a year. For those who are convicted in court and sentenced to custody, the average sentence in 2019-20 was almost a year (356 days) in length. This was 9% longer than in 2018-19 and 29% longer than in 2010-11 (9ΒΌ months). The proportion of people receiving a sentence of up to one year or less fell to 75% in 2019-20, the lowest proportion of the last decade.

Annual number of people convicted in court and given a custodial sentence: Breakdown by length of sentence, 2010-11 to 2019-20. Last updated May 2021. Next update due June 2022.

Community payback orders more likely to have supervision than unpaid work. There were 8,169 community payback orders imposed in 2020-21, 51% lower than in 2019-20. The suspension of delivery of unpaid work due to Covid-19 during part of the year was a major factor in more orders being issued with offender supervision requirements (73%) than unpaid work or other activity requirements (58%).

Percentage of community payback orders with the different requirements, as reported in the annual criminal justice social work data, 2020-21. Last updated January 2022. Next update due January 2023.

Reconviction rates are at one of their lowest levels in 22 years. The average number of reconvictions per offender was 11% lower than it was a decade ago. The fall in the last decade was driven by younger age groups, with average reconvictions decreasing by 12% for under 21s, 18% for 21-25 year olds, and 15% for 26-30 year olds. In contrast, average reconvictions increased for the older age groups over the decade, with a 7% increase for 31-40 year olds and 3% for those aged over 40.

Annual civil law cases initiated in Scottish courts, by type of case, 2011-12 to 2020-21. Last updated April 2022.

No. of children referred to SCRA on offence grounds down by almost 60 per cent in last 10 years. Statistics published by the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) show that, in 2020-21, 2,207 children were referred to the Reporter on offence grounds. This constitutes a decrease of 59% since 2011-12.

Long-term downward trend in initiated civil law cases, latest figures lower due to restrictions during the pandemic. There were 43,632 civil law cases initiated across the Court of Session and sheriff courts in 2020-21 (excluding summary applications). This represents a decrease of 41% from 2019-20.

All case types decreased since 2019-20. The largest decreases were in repossessions (down 96%), evictions (down 95%) and damages (down 65%). Debts were down 39%, while the lowest decreases were seen in personal injury (down 21%) and family (down 14%). Debt actions remain the most common, constituting 49% of principal craves. Family and personal injury actions were second and third most common, at 24% and 16% respectively.

Average number of reconvictions within a year of being given a non-custodial sentence or being released from a custodial sentence : breakdown by age group, 2009-10 and 2018-19. Last updated October 2021.


Email: Justice_Analysts@gov.scot

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