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

Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2010-11

Annex D: Definitions, Classifications and Notation

D1. The measures available to a court in sentencing a convicted person depend on whether the accused is an adult (21 or over), a young offender (aged 16 but less than 21) or a juvenile (under 16 or under 18 with a current supervisory requirement from a children's hearing). In some cases, the court may obtain evidence on whether the accused is suffering from a mental disorder. The measures available to courts in 2010-11 included:

Custodial sentences

a. Imprison the offender (or sentence a young offender to a young offenders institution ( YOI)) or, if the offender has been released on licence/under supervision following a previous conviction, recall to prison or YOI.
b. Sentence a young offender under 18 years of age convicted of murder to detention for an indeterminate period ( the effect of these sentences is normally detention in a young offenders institution).
c. Sentence a child to a specified period of detention in a place and on such conditions as Scottish Ministers may direct.
(The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 introduced provisions to allow courts to impose additional post-release supervision on licence where they consider that any existing supervision after the offender's release from custody would not be enough to protect the public from serious harm from the offender. These "extended sentences" can be imposed in indictment cases on sex offenders or on violent offenders who would have received a determinate sentence of four years or more.)

Community sentences

d. Impose a probation order with or without various conditions including a requirement to do unpaid work.
e. Impose a community service order requiring the offender to undertake unpaid work.
f. Impose a supervised attendance order which the court can impose as an alternative to custody for people who have defaulted on fines imposed for minor criminal offences.
g. Impose a restriction of liberty order: a community sentence introduced by section 5 of the Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Act 1997 and available to courts nationally from 1 May 2002.
h. Impose a drug treatment and testing order ( DTTO): a measure introduced by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and rolled out in phases from 1999 onwards. It is now available to the high court and all sheriff courts, together with the Glasgow Stipendiary Magistrates Court. In addition, a new model for DTTOs has been rolled out to at least one local authority and this can be issued from lower courts and for less serious offenders.
i. From February 2011, impose a community payback order

Financial penalties

j. Fine the offender.
k. Impose a compensation order requiring the offender to compensate the victim for any resulting injury, loss, damage, alarm or distress.

Other sentences

l. Order an absolute discharge (with no conviction recorded in summary procedure) or, following a deferral of sentence, make no order.
m. Admonish the offender or make an order to find caution (the overwhelming majority of these are admonishments).
n. Remit the disposal of a child offender to a children's hearing (if the accused is a child, under 16 years of age or aged 16 or 17 and subject to a supervision requirement).
o. Make a guardianship order if the accused is suffering from mental disorder (with no conviction recorded in summary procedure).
p. Make a compulsion order if the accused is suffering from mental disorder (with a conviction recorded), for a period of six months with regular reviews.

D2. The range of options available to the police for minor offences includes:

a. Anti-social behaviour fixed penalty notices ( ASBFPNs) of £40, can be issued for ten crime/offence types to people aged 16 or over. Payment of the penalty involves no admission of guilt.
b. Formal adult warnings ( FAWs) are issued for minor offences, commonly including street drinking, drunk and incapable, urinating, minor theft by shoplifting, assault, breach of the peace and vandalism.
c. Restorative justice warnings are issued to juvenile offenders for minor offences when there have been no previous offences or referrals to the Children's Reporter, and a range of other criteria are met.
d. Warning letters can be issued to juvenile offenders for minor offences by the police or the Children's Reporter (however it is not possible to identify the issuing authority in the CHS data).
e. A small number of other types of police warnings have been identified in the CHS database, including prostitute warnings, verbal warnings and community warning notices.

D3. When a report is submitted by the police to the procurator fiscal, prosecution in court is only one of a range of possible options for dealing with people who have been charged. This bulletin presents information on the following options, all non-convictions:

a. Fiscal fines of up to £300 for summary offences. Available to fiscals before SJR, but cannot be separately identified in CHS until after SJR.
b. Fiscal fixed penalties (mainly) for motor vehicle offences. Available to fiscals before SJR, but cannot be separately identified in CHS until after SJR.
c. Fiscal compensation orders of up to £5,000 payable to the victim. Only available after SJR, for personal injury, loss, damage, alarm or distress.
d. Combined fiscal fine and fiscal compensation order.


D4. The following symbols are used throughout the tables in this bulletin:

- Nil

* Less than 0.5

n/a Not available

D5. The percentage figures given in tables and charts have been independently rounded, so they may not always sum to the relevant sub-totals or totals.

Classification of crimes and offences

D6. Contraventions of the law are divided, for statistical purposes only, into crimes and offences. The classification of crimes and offences used by the Scottish Government for criminal statistics contains over 300 codes. These are grouped in this bulletin as shown in the following table.

NON-SEXUAL CRIMES OF VIOLENCE (Also referred to as Violence)
Homicide Comprises murder and culpable homicide (including the statutory crimes of causing death by dangerous or careless driving or causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, or when driving illegally).
Serious assault and attempted murder Sometimes referred for short in the text as "serious assault".
Robbery Includes offences involving intent to rob.
Other Includes threats, extortion and cruel and unnatural treatment of children.
CRIMES OF INDECENCY (Also referred to as Indecency)
Rape and attempted rape -
Sexual assault Includes: Contact sexual assault (13-15 yr old or adult 16+), Other sexually coercive conduct (adult 16+), Sexual offences against children under 13, Sexual activity with children aged 13-15, Other sexual offences involving children aged 13-15, Lewd and libidinous practices
Prostitution -
Other Includes: Incest, Unnatural Crimes, Public indecency, Sexual exposure, Procuration and other sexual offences
CRIMES INVOLVING DISHONESTY (Also referred to as Dishonesty)
Housebreaking Includes business as well as domestic premises.
Theft by opening a lockfast place -
Theft of a motor vehicle -
Shoplifting -
Other theft Includes theft of pedal cycles.
Fraud Includes statutory fraud, except social security benefit fraud.
Other Includes forgery, reset and embezzlement.
Fire-raising -
Vandalism Includes malicious mischief, vandalism and reckless conduct with firearms.
Crimes against public justice Includes perjury, contempt of court, bail offences and failing to appear at court.
Handling an offensive weapon Comprises carrying offensive weapons, restriction of offensive weapons legislation.
Drugs Includes importation, possession and supply of controlled drugs.
Other Includes conspiracy and explosives offences.
Common assault Also sometimes termed petty assault or minor assault.
Breach of the peace -
Drunkenness Includes offences of being drunk and incapable, being drunk in charge of a child, being disorderly on (or in attempting to enter) licensed premises and being drunk inside (or in attempting to enter) a sports ground.
Other Includes offences against local legislation, Revenue and Excise Acts, Licensing Acts, Wireless Telegraphy Acts / Communication Acts.
Dangerous and careless driving -
Drink/drug driving Comprises driving or in charge of motor vehicle while unfit through drink or drugs, blood alcohol content above limit and failing to provide breath, blood or urine specimens.
Speeding -
Unlawful use of vehicle Comprises driving while disqualified, without a licence, insurance, test certificate, vehicle tax and registration and identification offences.
Vehicle defect offences Comprises construction and use and lighting offences.
Other Includes parking, record of work offences, neglect of traffic directions, failing to stop after accident and mobile phone offences and the small number of motorway and clearway offences.

D7. While data was being collated for this bulletin a number of amendments were made to the criminal proceedings classification groupings to increase consistency with the recorded crime groupings. These amendments mainly affect the 'crimes of indecency' group, which has been re-structured as a result of the changes brought about by the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009. The theft of/from motor vehicle category has also been amended, with theft from a motor vehicle being re-classified into the 'crimes of dishonesty - other' group, leaving theft of a motor vehicle as a separate group. Similarly, motorway and clearway offences have been removed from the speeding group to the 'other' motor vehicle offences group. None of these changes affect the higher level figures ( i.e. 'crimes of indecency', 'crimes of dishonesty' and 'motor vehicle offences' are unaffected).

Comparisons with other sources

D8. The figures in this bulletin that relate to community payback orders are derived from the Criminal History System, and are a count of the number of people issued with CPOs, based on sentencing date. Details of CPOs have been published on a quarterly basis by the Scottish Government (available online at:

These quarterly figures are based on monthly extracts from the Scottish Court Service's management information system, and are a count of the number of CPOs issued, based on the date recorded by the court service. As a result, it is expected that the two sets of published figures will not be identical, with the figures herein likely to be higher.

D9. COPFS publish annual figures relating to the number of cases processed each year (available online at:

The figures contained in this bulletin are based on the number of people recorded on CHS. As individual cases can each involve more than one person, it is likely that the figures herein will be higher.

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