Statistical Bulletin: Crime and Justice Series: Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, 2010-11

Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2010-11

2. Key Points for 2010-11

Further explanatory detail is provided in the commentary inSection 5.

Court proceedings and convictions (Tables1,2,3,4aandChart 2)

A total of 130,268 people were proceeded against in court, a decrease of 5 per cent on 2009-10 and the lowest total since 2002-03.

Eighty-nine per cent of people proceeded against in court had at least one charge proved or a plea of guilty accepted, up from 88 per cent in 2009-10.

The total number of people convicted was 115,398, a decrease of 5 per cent on 2009-10; 53 per cent were convicted in sheriff summary courts, down from 54 per cent in 2009-10, while the proportion of people convicted in district/justice of the peace ( JP) courts rose from 42 per cent in 2009-10 to 43 per cent in 2010-11.

The number of people with a charge proved fell for most crime groups including serious assault and attempted murder which fell by 7 per cent (from 1,507 in 2009-10 to 1,406 in 2010-11), crimes of dishonesty, which decreased by 2 per cent (from 15,971 to 15,606), handling offensive weapons, which fell by 14 per cent (from 2,866 to 2,473), rape and attempted rape, which fell by 33 per cent (from 54 to 36), and 'other' crimes of indecency, which fell by 19 per cent (from 358 to 290).

The number of people with a charge proved increased for a handful of crime groups, including sexual assault which increased by 8 per cent (from 260 in 2009-10 to 280 in 2010-11) and 'other' non-sexual crimes of violence which rose by 56 per cent (from 305 in 2009-10 to 476 in 2010-11).

As with last year, there were decreases in the number of people with a charge proved in court for a number of those crime categories for which the police can now offer fixed penalty notices (for example, vandalism fell by 12 per cent between 2009-10 and 2010-11).

Court sentences (Tables7and10(c))

  • The majority (67,525; 59 per cent) of all convictions in 2010-11 resulted in a financial penalty, a similar proportion to last year (60 per cent) although the number is down 7 per cent on 2009-10 (72,491). The average amount of fine imposed was £215, down 1 per cent (£2) from 2009-10.

The number of convictions resulting in a custodial sentence decreased 3 per cent in 2010-11 to 15,268 (from 15,788 in 2009-10), the lowest level since 2005-06 (15,082). However, as a proportion of all main penalties, the use of custody remained at 13 per cent.

The average length of custodial sentences in 2010-11 was just over 9 months (277 days), five days lower than in 2009-10.

Thirteen per cent (15,550) of convictions in 2010-11 resulted in a community sentence, down 5 per cent overall on 2009-10 (16,350). Community sentences mainly comprise probation orders (down 11 per cent from 8,893 to 7,902) and community service orders (down 3 per cent from 5,471 to 5,302). However, community payback orders were introduced in February 2011 and 448 of these were issued by the end of March 2011. The remaining 15 per cent of convictions in 2010-11 mostly resulted in cautions or admonishments.

Characteristics of offenders convicted in court (Tables6(a),6(b),8(c),11and12)

Females accounted for 16 per cent of all convictions but only 7 per cent of custodial sentences. The proportion of males receiving a custodial sentence was higher than the proportion of females in almost all categories of crime and offence (the exceptions being homicide and sexual assault).

The number of convictions fell for offenders of all ages. The number of males under age 21 convicted fell by 13 per cent from 17,327 in 2009-10 to 15,117 in 2010-11, and the number of females under age 21 who were convicted fell by 11 per cent from 2,511 in 2009-10 to 2,223 in 2010-11. The number of males over 30 who were convicted in 2010-11 fell by 1 per cent to 46,659, while the number of females over 30 who were convicted fell by 2 per cent to 9,709.

Bail and undertakings (Tables13,17and18)

  • The total estimated number of bail orders made by Scottish courts in 2010-11 was 46,221, a decrease of 4 per cent from the 47,921 bail orders in 2009-10, and the lowest total since 2002-03 (46,795) when reporting began. In 2010-11, the total estimated number of people released on an undertaking to appear in court was 27,297.
  • Other than committing an offence while on bail, there were 8,241 other bail-related offences in 2010-11 ( e.g. breach of bail conditions, such as failure to appear in court after being granted bail), a decrease of 1 per cent on 2009-10. The number of bail-related offences as a percentage of bail orders granted increased slightly from 17 per cent in 2009-10 to 18 per cent in 2010-11.

Police disposals (Tables19 to 23)

  • Anti-Social Behaviour Fixed Penalty Notices ( ASBFPNs) were issued to 54,243 people as a main penalty in 2010-11, down 11 per cent from 61,208 in 2009-10.
  • In 2010-11, the vast majority of ASBFPNs were issued for three of the ten offences for which they are available; 25,144 for consuming alcohol in a public place (46 per cent of the total), 13,786 for breach of the peace (25 per cent) and 12,529 for urinating etc. (23 per cent). Males received 88 per cent of ASBFPNs in 2010-11.
  • Police Formal Adult Warnings ( FAWs) were given as a main penalty to 7,381 people in 2010-11, down 11 per cent from 8,340 in 2009-10.
  • Three-quarters of FAWs issued in 2010-11 were for four crimes/offences; shoplifting (32 per cent), drunkenness (18 per cent), common assault (15 per cent) and breach of the peace (10 per cent). Females received 41 per cent of FAWs in 2010-11.

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service disposals (Tables24 to 28)

  • In 2010-11, 35,446 people were issued with a fiscal fine as a main penalty (down 1 per cent from 35,700 in 2009-10) and 20,342 people were issued a fiscal fixed penalty (up 10 per cent from 18,546 in 2009-10).
  • Over two-thirds of fiscal fines in 2010-11 were issued to males (68 per cent). Of the 11,362 fiscal fines issued to females, the most common crimes/offences for which they were given were Communications Act offences (53 per cent), shoplifting (12 per cent) and drugs offences (8 per cent), while of the 24,081 fiscal fines issued to males, 32 per cent were for drugs offences, 12 per cent for Communications Act offences and 11 per cent for consuming alcohol in a public place.
  • Procurator fiscal fixed penalties are generally issued for motor vehicle offences. In 2010-11, 32 per cent were for speeding offences, 18 per cent for documentation offences, 14 per cent for signal and direction offences, 6 per cent for lighting/ construction and use offences and 30 per cent for other motor vehicle offences (such as seat belt and mobile telephone offences).
Back to top