Safer Communities and Justice Statistics Monthly Data Report: April 2024

This report contains summary statistics covering a number of important justice and safer communities areas. It is published with up to date statistics every month.

Criminal & Civil Proceedings

Summary statistics on criminal and civil proceedings

  • COVID-19 continued to impact prosecutions and convictions in 2021-22. The number of people convicted in Scottish courts rose by 39% from 2020-21 to 59,295, but remain below a typical pre-pandemic year.
Annual number of people convicted in Scottish courts, as reported by the Scottish Government's criminal proceedings data, 2012-13 to 2021-22. Last updated October 2023.
  • Rise in convictions across all groups between 2020-21 and 2021-22. Convictions for Sexual crimes rose by 52% and are the only group to exceed their pre-pandemic (2019-20) level. Road traffic offences rose the most proportionally (up 76%) and Crimes of dishonesty the least (up 7%). Convictions for crimes under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act increased by 81% (689 convictions) in 2021-22 compared to 2020-21 (381 convictions).
  • Rise in numbers of community sentences issued and new high in proportion of sentences in 2021-22. The number of community sentences in court rose by 45% between 2020-21 and 2021-22, from 9,783 to 14,160, in line with the overall rise in convictions. The proportion of all convictions resulting in a community sentence rose to 24%, the highest in the past decade.
  • Average custodial sentence exceeds one year. For those who are convicted in court and sentenced to custody, the average sentence in 2021-22 was over twelve months (376 days) in length. This was 14% longer than in 2020-21, and 32% longer than in 2012-13 (284 days). The proportion of people receiving a sentence of less than one year fell by two percentage points to 73% in 2021-22, the lowest proportion of the last decade.
Annual number of people convicted in court and given a custodial sentence : Breakdown by length of sentence, 2012-13 to 2021-22. Last updated October 2023.

The 2020-21 and 2021-22 data reflect the impact of Covid-19 across the justice system, and should not be interpreted as indicative of longer term trends.

  • Community payback orders slightly more likely to have unpaid work than supervision. There were 14,700 community payback orders imposed in 2022-23. This was 20% higher than in 2021-22 but still 13% lower than in 2019-20. For the first time since 2019-20, more orders were issued with unpaid work or other activity requirements (68%) than offender supervision requirements (67%).This reflected decreased Covid-19 restrictions during 2022-23, meaning it was less difficult for unpaid work to be carried out.
Percentage of community payback orders with the different requirements, as reported in the annual justice social work data, 2022-23. Last updated January 2024. Next update due January/February 2025.
  • Covid-19 impacted the reconviction rates for the 2019-20 cohort. The reconviction rate decreased across almost all categories. The overall reconviction rate was 24.1% in 2019-20, which is a 4.5 percentage point decrease from 28.6% in 2018-19. The data from the 2019-20 cohort mainly reflects the impact of COVID-19 across the justice system, and should not be interpreted as indicative of longer term trends.
  • Prior to COVID-19 affected data, the average number of reconvictions per offender has decreased over time. The average number of reconvictions per offender was 8% lower in 2018-19 compared to 2009-10. The fall in the longer term was driven by younger age groups, with average reconvictions decreasing by 9% for under 21s, 16% for 21-25 year olds, and 13% for 26-30 year olds. In contrast, average reconvictions increased for the older age groups over the decade, with increases of 9% for 31-40 year olds and 7% for those aged over 40.
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 June 2023.
  • No. of children referred to SCRA on offence grounds down by five per cent in last 10 years. Statistics published by the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) show that, in 2022-23, 2,637 children were referred to the Reporter on offence grounds. This constitutes a decrease of 5% since 2013-14.
  • The most recent ten years show a general downward trend in initiated cases, though the latest figures show some recovery from 2020-21. There were 53,866 civil law cases initiated across the Court of Session and sheriff courts in 2021-22 (excluding summary applications). This represents an increase of 23% from 2020-21.
  • Most case types increased since 2020-21, except damages which fell marginally. The highest increases were in repossessions (up 1,204%) and evictions (up 200%). The increase in repossessions follows a large Covid-related fall in 2020-21 to a record low. The increase in initiations in 2021-22 brings numbers closer to the pre-pandemic levels but still 46% lower than in 2019-20. Evictions too are still substantially lower than pre-pandemic levels (84% down on 2019-20). Personal injury (up 12%) and family (up by 17%) recorded the lowest increases. Damages saw a 4% decrease from 2020-21.
Annual civil law cases initiated in Scottish courts, by type of case, 2012-13 to 2021-22. Last updated April 2023. Next update due April 2024.



Back to top