This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Criminal proceedings in Scottish courts, 1996 - Statistical Bulletin published today
Figures released today show that the use of custody, community service and probation all rose to historically high levels in 1996. These figures are included in the statistical bulletin Criminal Proceedings in Scottish Courts, 1996 which was published by the Scottish Office.
The number of persons proceeded against in Scottish courts in 1996 dropped to 175,500, a fall of one per cent. The number of persons called to the High Court rose by two per cent between 1995 and 1996. While overall there was a fall of one per cent in the number of persons proceeded against for all crimes and offences, the number of persons proceeded against for non-sexual crimes of violence and drugs offences rose by 16 per cent and 14 per cent respectively compared with 1995. Amongst categories of crime, the largest falls were for other crimes of indecency (mainly offences related to prostitution) and housebreaking which fell by 37 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.
There was also a seven per cent fall in the number of persons proceeded against for motor vehicle offences. Within this category the number of persons proceeded against for speeding offences fell by 16 per cent while there was a seven per cent rise in persons proceeded against for drunk driving.
The use of fines continued to fall both absolutely and as a proportion of all penalties imposed as those offences most likely to be punished by fines are increasingly dealt with outside the court system. In 1996, 69 per cent of all persons with a charge proved received a fine as their main penalty compared with 78 per cent in 1986.
The total number of persons receiving a community service order rose by seven per cent to 5,700, the highest number recorded. The number of persons sentenced to probation in 1996 was also at an all time high of 6,400 following a five per cent rise.
The number of persons receiving custodial sentences increased by four per cent to 16,900, also the highest level ever recorded, following rises averaging five per cent in each of the preceding four years. In 1996, 11 per cent of those sentenced in court were given a custodial sentence.
The average length of determinate custodial sentences imposed in 1996 was 229 days. This represents an increase of four per cent compared with the 1995 figure of 221 days and is 25 per cent higher than in 1989.
The average fine imposed in 1996 rose seven per cent to £164, compared to £153 in 1995 and £141 in 1994. Fifty-four per cent of all fines imposed in 1996 were for under £100 and 23 per cent were for £50 or less.
The peak age for persons having a charge proved against them was 18 in 1996. Ten per cent of 18 year old males in the Scottish population had a charge proved against them for a crime, simple assault or breach of the peace on at least one occasion in 1996, compared to one per cent of 18 year old females.
1. Copies of the bulletin (CrJ/ 1998/1, Priced £2.00) are available from The Stationery Office Bookstore, 71 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9AZ. Tel : 0131 622-7050.
2. Statistics on court proceedings cannot be used as an indicator of crime trends. Many cases do not come to court, either because they are not cleared up or because the offender is dealt with in some other way, for example by the use of fixed penalties for many motor vehicle offences. The statistical bulletin Recorded Crime in Scotland, 1996 provides information on trends in crime recorded by the police. Crime and Criminal Justice Research Findings Number 1, The Scottish Crime Survey 1996: First Results, provides estimates of trends in household and personal crimes whether or not reported to the police. Further details on drug offences are published by the Government Statistical Service. Latest figures are published in Statistics of drug seizures and offenders dealt with, United Kingdom, 1995, Scotland tables.
News Release: 0658/98
March 30, 1998