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Fall in criminal court proceedings 27/02/2018 Newly published statistics show that the total number of people proceeded against in Scottish courts fell by eight percent in the year 2016-17

Fall in criminal court proceedings

The total number of people proceeded against in Scottish courts fell by eight percent to 107,338 in the year 2016-17, according to National Statistics published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. This is similar to the fall in the number of people convicted, down eight percent to 92,334.

According to the statistics, this continues the general downward trend of the last ten years and contrasts the short term rise in court activity between 2012-13 and 2014-15. The decline in convictions in 2016-17 was driven by falls in speeding (down 11%), crimes against public justice (down 11%), breach of the peace, use of mobile phone offences (down 35% and common assault (down 7 percent).

Other statistics in the report show that the number of people convicted for sexual crimes fell by 11% in 2016-17 to 1,037 convictions from 1,163 in 2015-16. This is the lowest number of sexual crime convictions in five years, although levels remain 37% higher than in 2010-11 (756 convictions). The increase since 2010-11 may, in part, reflect an increased level of reporting in the wake of high profile cases. There has been a corresponding rise in the number of people being proceeded against in court for sexual crimes, up 62% since 2010-11 from 933 proceedings to 1,510 in 2015-16, although this has also declined in 2016-17, by seven percent.

The number of convictions with a domestic abuse aggravator attached fell by 12% in 2016-17 to 10,830, this is the second consecutive year of decline following increases seen over the previous four years.

The number of custodial sentences given in court fell by eight percent in the year to 2016-17 (from 13,766 in 2015-16 to 12,690). This is the lowest level since 2007-08.

The use of short custodial sentences has fallen over the last decade. The proportion of sentences under three months in length fell by two percentage points in 2016-17 to 28%, down from 50% in 2007-08. In 2016-17 the average custodial sentence length, excluding life sentences, was over 10 months. This is seven percent longer than in 2015-16, and 26% longer than in 2007-08 (eight months).

The full statistics can be found here.


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