2. Main findings: reconviction rates for non-court disposals
Changes were introduced as a result of the Criminal Proceedings Act 2007 and these were collectively known as Summary Justice Reform. They were designed to take less serious cases out of the justice system at an earlier stage, and to improve the efficiency of court processes. These non-court prosecution options are used to deal with less serious offences, and include both police and crown office disposals.
This section provides statistics on reconviction rates for offenders whose index conviction and subsequent reconviction was dealt with outside of court. Reconvictions for non-court disposals are separate from those for court disposals, because they are recorded on a separate database. The index convictions, reconviction rate and average number of reconvictions per offender in this section therefore refer to only to non-court disposals.
2.1 Police disposals
( Table 13)
The following non-court disposals are available to the police when dealing with a case directly:
- Anti-Social Behaviour Fixed Penalty Notices ( ASBFPNs) as provided for in the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004 for a range of offences including drunken-related behaviours and playing loud music;
- Formal adult warnings are for minor offences wherein a warning letter is issued to the offender and were in force until 11th January 2016, when they were replaced by police recorded warnings. The 2015-16 bulletin will include these.
- Actions which are used specifically for juveniles (aged 8 to 17) such as restorative justice warnings and Early and Effective Interventions ( EEI).
There are further options available to the police that we are not able to provide data on such as conditional offers of a fixed penalty notice for moving motor vehicle offences. More information is available in Annex D of the Criminal Proceedings publication.
Of all the individuals given a non-court disposal (by the police or COPFS) in 2014-15, those given ASBFPN had the highest percentage of individuals who received another non-court disposal within one year (22.6%) and the highest average number of non-court disposals per individual (0.42) of any non-court disposal. Since 2012-13 there has been a decline in the average number of non-court disposals per individual as well as the percentage of individuals given another non-court disposal, with a 22.2% decline in the former, from 0.54 in 2012-13 to 0.42 in 2014-15, and a 5.3 percentage point decline in the latter from 27.9% in 2012-13 to 22.6% in 2014-15. ( Table 13 and Table 14).
Of the individuals given a Formal Adult Warning between 2008-09 and 2014-15, the percentage who received another non-court disposal within one year decreased by 7.4 percentage points from 18.1% to 10.7%, and there was a 42.9% decrease in the average number of non-court disposals per individual from 0.28 to 0.16 ( Table 13).
Of the individuals given an Early and Effective Intervention ( EEI), 22.5% received another non-court disposal within one year, and they received on average 0.37 non-court disposals per individual. Over the last year there has been a decline in both measures, with the percentage receiving another non-court disposal remaining relatively stable, declining by 0.2 percentage points, and the average number of non-court disposal decreasing by 2.6%.( Table 13). Please note that the figures on EEIs in this bulletin have been back-revised, please see Annex B for more information.
2.2 Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service ( COPFS) disposals
( Table 14)
These non-court disposals are available to the Crown Office and Prosecutor Fiscal Service ( COPFS):
- Fiscal fines of between £50 and £300;
- Compensation orders of up to £5,000;
- Fixed penalties of between £50 and £300, generally issued for motor vehicle offences.
There are further actions that COPFS can take that are not included in this report such as fiscal warnings as well as diverting cases to social work and other agencies and referrals to the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration ( SCRA). More information is available in Annex D of the Criminal Proceedings publication.
Of those individuals given a COPFS disposal in 2014-15, those given a Fiscal Fine had the highest percentage of individuals who received another non-court disposal (21.1%) and the highest average number of non-court disposals per individual (0.31). Individuals given a Fiscal Fixed Penalty had the lowest percentage of individuals who received another non-court disposal (6.4%) and the lowest average number of non-court disposals per individual (0.07).
Between 2008-09 and 2014-15, those COPFS disposals have all seen a decrease in the percentage of individuals who received another non-court disposal within one year and a decrease in the average number of non-court disposals per individual.
Fiscal Work Orders ( FWOs) were introduced across Scotland in April 2015. The process of recording these disposals is currently being investigated for the Criminal Proceedings publication, and it is hoped that statistics for these will be available to publish in the 2016-17 publication.
Email: Mariken Schipper
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House