5.1 Changes were introduced as a result of the Criminal Proceedings Act 2007 and these were collectively known as Summary Justice Reform. They were designed to take less serious cases out of the justice system at an earlier stage, and to improve the efficiency of court processes.
5.2 In 2007-08 new options became available to the police for dealing with minor offences. These included anti-social behaviour fixed penalty notices (ASBFPNs) and formal adult warnings for crimes such as breach of the peace, urinating, consuming alcohol in a public place, and for other, more minor offences.
5.3 Prosecution in court is only one of a range of options available for dealing with people who have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal. Procurators Fiscal have had long standing powers to issue fiscal fines as an alternative to court prosecution for a range of offences and to offer a conditional offer of a fixed penalty to offenders for speeding offences and other road traffic related offences.
5.4 As part of Summary Justice Reform, the Scottish Parliament provided prosecutors with powers to issue an enhanced range of fiscal fines and to award compensation to victims, through fiscal compensation orders. Collectively these non-court prosecution options are used to deal with less serious offences.
5.5 Table 13 shows that 53,903 individuals were given at least one police disposal in 2011-12, which is down 10 per cent from a high of 60,079 individuals in 2009-10, but up just over 400 individuals, or less than 1% from 53,497 in 2010-11. The percentage of individuals receiving another non-court disposal within one year of receiving a police disposal has stayed relatively constant since they were introduced after the Summary Justice Reform, and was 25.2 per cent for the 2011-12 cohort.
5.6 Individuals who were given an ASBFPN had the highest percentage of individuals who received another non-court disposal within one year (27.9 per cent) and individuals given a restorative disposal had the lowest (8.1 per cent).
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) disposals
5.7 Table 14 shows that 56,057 individuals were given a COPFS disposal in 2011-12, which is up 10 percent from 50,057 in 2010-12. The percentage of individuals receiving another non-court disposal within one year of receiving a COPFS disposal has stayed relatively constant since they were introduced after the Summary Justice Reform and was 19 per cent for all COPFS disposals for the 2011-12 cohort.
5.8 In 2011-12 individuals given a fiscal fine had the highest percentage of individuals who received another non-court disposal within one year (24.8 per cent) and individuals given a fiscal fixed penalty had the lowest (9.2 per cent).
5.9 At present, information is not collected on fiscal work orders in the Scottish Offenders Index and they are therefore not included in this publication.
Email: Andrew Morgan