Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Criminal Proceedings In Scotland 2020-21

21st June 2022

The total number of people proceeded against in Scottish courts fell by 46% to 46,497 in the year to 2020-21, according to National Statistics published by Scotland's Chief Statistician today. The number of people convicted fell at a similar rate, down 44% to 42,532.

These figures cover the first full year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of this on the justice system. Whilst it is not yet possible to isolate the impact of the pandemic on the data, it is reasonable to conclude that the latest data is predominantly a reflection of the impact of the pandemic across the justice system, and should not be interpreted as indicative of longer-term trends.

Whilst all types of court experienced some reduction in capacity over the course of the pandemic, not all court types were affected equally. This is likely to have had a significant impact on the mix of cases able to proceed in court and associated sentencing outcomes, presented in the figures in the 2020-21 bulletin.

Decreases were seen across almost all categories of crimes and offences as well as across all disposal types. Convictions fell the most for Motor Vehicle Offences (down 58%) and Crimes of Dishonesty (down 44%).

The most notable exception was an 81% increase in convictions for crimes under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, from 212 convictions in 2019-20 to 383 in 2020-21. The course of conduct offence was only introduced in April 2019 and so to some extent an increase would be expected after the first year as it takes time for evidence to build up and cases to progress through court.

The number of convictions of crimes with a statutory domestic abuse aggravation decreased by 20% in 2020-21, down to 6,513 convictions from 8,176 in 2019-20.

The 2020-21 statistics include offences introduced by Coronavirus legislation for the first time. A total of 39 people were proceeded against in court for offences relating to coronavirus restrictions in 2020-21, with 36 of these resulting in a conviction.

The total number of convictions fell by 44%, however, those resulting in a custodial sentence decreased by 35% (from 11,122 in 2019-20 to 7,224 in 2020-21). Custodial sentences represented 17% of sentences imposed for all convictions in 2020-21.

The average length of custodial sentence for all crimes, excluding life sentences in 2020-21 was 329 days, which is 8% shorter than in 2019-20 (356 days).

In 2020-21, 23% (9,741) of people convicted were given a community sentence. This is a 42% decrease in the number from 16,661 in 2019-20.

There are a number of measures available to the police and COPFS for dealing with minor offences directly. These non-court disposals fell to a lesser extent than court disposals over the past year.

Police disposals fell by 12% over the year to 30,555 in 2020-21. Recorded Police Warnings made up 69% (21,003) of all police disposals this year and most were issued for drugs offences, breach of the peace, and common assault.

The number of COPFS disposals decreased by 7% between 2019-20 and 2020-21. This was driven by a 28% decrease in the number of Fiscal Fines and a 45% decrease in Fiscal Combined Fines and Compensation, but partly counteracted by a 36% increase in the number of Fiscal Fixed Penalties and 23% increase in Fiscal Warnings.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Visiting relatives and friends this Christmas? Make sure your home is safe AFTER DARKThumbnail for article : Visiting relatives and friends this Christmas? Make sure your home is safe AFTER DARK
Consider carefully what you are putting on social media, especially if you are staying away to visit friends and relatives this Christmas.  Be wary of posting photographs of Christmas parties that contain images of high value jewellery.  
Would you like to join the Police? Would you like to live and work in the Caithness area? Police Scotland is actively recruiting good quality and eligible candidates specifically for the Caithness area.   We are taking applications now for Police Constable / Special Constable Entry for future intakes during 2023/2024.  
£74m Police Budget Cut Will Make Communities Less Safe
UNISON, the union for police staff, says Scotland's police budget cut will see even more crime going unreported and crimes not being fully investigated.   The union says around 230 police staff could be cut, including fingerprint examiners, forensic examiners, 999 call handlers, custody staff, high-speed driving instructors, cybercrime experts, payroll, HR and IT staff.  
New Police Commander For Highland And Islands Division Takes OathThumbnail for article : New Police Commander For Highland And Islands Division Takes Oath
The new Highland and Islands divisional commander will take up post having been sworn in as a Police Scotland officer.   Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone welcomed and thanked Chief Superintendent Rob Shepherd during a ceremony at Police Scotland Headquarters, Tulliallan, on Monday, 16 January 2023, overseen by Justice of the Peace Gillian Thomson.  
Police Complaints, Investigations And Misconduct To Continue After Resignations
Gross misconduct proceedings against police officers should be allowed to continue after they resign from the force to promote transparency and maintain public confidence, according to a public consultation.   The move, which would see proceedings continue even if an officer leaves during the course of an investigation into their conduct, was among the recommendations of Dame Elish Angiolini's independent review into how police complaints and allegations of misconduct should be handled.  
15 Further Call Handling Jobs For Police Centre In Inverness
Cllr Matthew Reiss, Highland Council's Strategic Lead for Police and Fire has welcomed Police Scotland's announcement that it has created fifteen new posts to further enhance the development of call handling services, based in Inverness.   He said: "We were delighted in October last year to welcome 25 new jobs in Inverness with the creation of a specialist call handling service team and these fifteen additional new posts based in the Highlands are great news.  
Changes to criminal court businessThumbnail for article : Changes to criminal court business
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has responded to the Lord President's decision to reduce the number of criminal trials as part of efforts to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).   The Justice Secretary said:"I welcome the Lord President's decisive action, which balances the interests of justice with the very serious public health challenges presented by the new variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  
Agreement urgently needed on police authority's functionsThumbnail for article : Agreement urgently needed on police authority's functions
Greater clarity is needed around the core functions and finances of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) so that it can build a modern and financially stable police service.   A report on 17 December 2019 from the Auditor General highlights some progress over the last year amid a raft of new appointments to Police Scotland, including a new chief constable and three deputies, and seven new members to the SPA Board.  
New Drug Driving Laws To Be Introduced
Motorists face roadside drugs test.   Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has welcomed Police Scotland's preparations for the introduction of new drug driving laws on 21 October.  
Mobile devices introduced for Highland & Islands officers
Police officers in the Highlands and Islands will start using mobile devices as part of their operational duties which will increase their visibility within local communities.   Officers will be able to access a wide range of police systems while out on duty without the requirement to return to a police station and log on to a computer.