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Non Court Disposals (R011686)

Non Court Disposals (R011686)

Thank you for your e-mail of 6 November 2015 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

“I would like to request the info broken down over the last five years - from the date of submission backwards for five full years.

For each year I would like to know:

How many cases were referred to the procurator fiscal
Of these, how many were dealt with using non-court disposals
In each instance that a non-court disposal was used, what the disposal was (e.g. formal warning, £500 fine, etc.)
And what the category of crime was - e.g. assault, housebreaking, etc.

I would like the info provided in an Excel spreadsheet.”

Firstly, I should explain that 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 cases and the information within it is structured accordingly.  We do not have a separate statistical database, and hold only operational data needed for business purposes. 

You may already be aware that data relating to the total cases referred to the Procurator Fiscal and the number and type of non court disposals is already published on the COPFS website as “case processing statistics” from financial year 2010/11 to the end of financial year 2014/15 at http://www.crownoffice.gov.uk/images/Documents/Statistics/Statistics%20on%20Case%20Processing%20Last%205%20Years%202010-15.pdf

I note however that you have specifically requested to receive the information in Excel format and I now attach the data in this format in accordance with your request.

You may find it of interest to refer to the prosecution code which is accessible on our web-site.  The Prosecution Code sets out the criteria for decision making and the range of options available to prosecutors dealing with reports of crime, including more detail on non court disposals.

http://www.copfs.gov.uk/images/Documents/Prosecution_Policy_Guidance/Prosecution20Code20_Final20180412__1.pdf

While we do endeavour to provide information where possible, unfortunately we are unable to provide the category of crime or the level of fine offered and/or amount of compensation ordered in relation to non court disposals as it is not possible to extract this information easily from our electronic system within the cost limits set under section 12 of FOISA.  I should explain that 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. As I have explained above we do not have a separate statistical database, and hold only operational data needed for business purposes.  Given that there were 577,115 non court disposals over the period of your request which would require to be analysed in our operational system to respond to this aspect of your request, I hope you will appreciate that this exercise would in terms of staff time exceed the upper cost limit referred to above.

The Scottish Court and Tribunal Service (SCTS) or the Scottish Government Crime and Justice Statistics Department may be able to assist with the more detailed aspect of your request involving the category of crime and the number and level of Fiscal Fine/Fixed Penalty/Compensation Orders imposed.  Information on how to make a request to them is available on their web-sites at

SCTS
https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/about-the-scottish-court-service/contact-us/freedom-of-information

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

pdfAnnex A - R011686 59.64 KB