No Further Action (R011984)
Thank you for your request dated 16 December 2015 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the undernoted information:
“In how many cases, where an alleged perpetrator has been identified, has the Fiscal Service subsequently closed off the case and marked it “no further action”?
Could you please let me know this data for the last 5 years.
Could you differentiate between summary cause and solemn procedure cases.
And could you please let me know this data for each region’s fiscal service.
Could you please let me know why these cases were marked “no further action”.
Could you please supply similar data where multiple alleged perpetrators have been identified.”
I have attached a table which provides much of the information you have requested in relation to cases where the Procurator Fiscal has commenced or attempted to commence proceedings in a case where those proceedings have subsequently been discontinued and the case marked no further action. This information is for the last five financial years and is broken down into individual COPFS Federations; East, National, North and West. The “No Further Action” markings applied to those cases have also been provided.
While most of the “No Further Action” markings are self-explanatory, it may assist if I advise that the “Failed Alternative” relates to cases which have been re-considered after an an alternative to prosecution has been offered which has resulted in a decision at that point not to proceed further. This is usually where fixed penalty notices for minor road traffic offences have not been paid or the accused is untraced.
“Reporting Deficiency” relates to cases which were taken up on the basis of false or incorrect information. In such cases, subsequent information is at variance with the original report, ie, the lack of sufficient evidence is now apparent.
“Failed Service” relates to cases where the complaint or fixed penalty notice has been issued and service on an accused has been attempted, but has not been successful.
“Delay in Reaching a Conclusion” relates to cases which have become protracted, whether or not through the fault of the Crown.
We do endeavour to provide information whenever possible, however, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the remaining information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. Under Section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under Section 12.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service's case management database is a live, operating database. It is designed to meet our business needs in relation to the processing of criminal cases, and the information within it is structured accordingly. We do not have a separate database, and hold only operational data needed for business purposes, ie to prepare court documentation; to send and receive electronic information regarding court appearances and results; to cite witnesses; to deal with issues relating to disclosure of information to the defence etc.
In order to differentiate between summary and solemn procedure cases; and to identify cases which involve multiple accused, Crown Office staff would be required to consider individually each report which had been marked “No Further Proceedings” and the time taken to complete this task would exceed the upper cost limit.