Scottish Criminal Court Statistics

The first quarterly bulletin detailing criminal court activity was published the week beginning 11 March 2019 by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Services (SCTS).

The SCTS notes that:

“There were 109,881 first instance criminal cases registered in Scottish courts in 2017/18 which is 25% less than the number of cases registered in 2014/15 and 7% less than 2016/17. Most of the reduction in cases registered is attributable to changes in summary crime rather than solemn crime.

A link to a commentary on these official statistics can be found below:

http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/default-source/aboutscs/reports-and-data/criminal-court-statistics/qcc01/scts-quarterly-criminal-court-statistics—bulletin-q1-2018-19.docx?sfvrsn=2

According to SCTS:

The statistics in this bulletin do not have information relating to accused persons in terms of what they were charged with or their resulting conviction or sentence as there are already wellestablished National Statistics on these aspects of criminal justice. This bulletin does not cover court cases relating to civil business.

See the Scottish Government’s website for statistics relating to criminal or civil justice:

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice

The SCTS goes on to say:

This is the first bulletin in a new series of quarterly reports on criminal court activity and can be viewed within the ‘Statistics’ section of webpage“:   

http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/about-the-scottish-court-service/reports-data.

Crime and Punishment in Scotland

Photo credit by niu niu on Unsplash

In Chapter 1 of Introductory Scots Law, the Scottish criminal justice system is discussed.

As of today (29 January 2019), the Scottish Government has published its annual statistics on the number of accused persons who have made an appearance before Scotland’s criminal courts. The statistics cover the period 2017/18.

The figures clearly demonstrate three things:

1. Fewer people in Scotland are being charged with criminal offences (a decrease of 11% from 2016/17);

2. There is a decrease in the number of guilty verdicts being handed down by the Scottish criminal courts (a reduction of 10% from 2016/17); and

3. There has been a significant reduction in the number of community sentences (a decrease of 10% from 2016/17).

These figures are in marked contrast to media grabbing headlines such as the one in The Scottish Daily Express on 12 May 2018 which highlighted the fact that the Renfrewshire and Inverclyde Police Division had the highest murder rate (11 homicides) in the UK for 2017/18!

A link to the Scottish Government’s statistics can be found below:

https://www2.gov.scot/Publications/2019/01/2354/2

A link to the BBC website providing analysis and commentary can be found below:

How are Scotland’s courts dealing with offenders?

Community sentences drop as figures show another decline in the number of people appearing in criminal courts.

Copyright Seán J Crossan, January 2019