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Unmarked Cases, Dropped Cases, Members of Staff (R008739)

Freedom of Information: Unmarked Cases, Dropped Cases, Members of Staff (R008739)

Thank you for your request dated 5 October 2014 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the following information:

“How many cases within the COPFS are currently unmarked?

How many of them are more than 4 weeks old, i.e. a report was submitted by police more than 4 weeks ago?

How many cases within the COPFS were unmarked on the same date in 2013 & 2009?

How many cases have been dropped because they were out with the time bar (either by the Crown or by way of a judge/Sheriff’s refusal to extend) in September? What were the charges in these cases?

How many cases were dropped because they were out with the time bar in September 2013 & September 2009? What were the charges in these cases?

How many cases have been dropped because they were out with the time bar between January 1 and September 30 this year? What were the charges in these cases?

How many cases were dropped because they were out with the time bar over the same nine month period in 2013 & 2009? Please again break this down into types of charges.

How many employees does COPFS currently have? How many employees did the service have at the same point in 2013 & 2009?

How many trainee fiscals did the COPFS taken on in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 & 2009?

How many trainee fiscals were kept on following their training in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 & 2009?”


I will answer each question in turn.

1. “How many cases within the COPFS are currently unmarked? “

On 5 October 2014, 9933 cases reported to COPFS were unmarked.

2. “How many of them are more than 4 weeks old, i.e. a report was submitted by police more than 4 weeks ago?”

In 2923 of these cases, the report had been submitted by the police more than four weeks before.

“Unmarked” refers to cases which are work in progress and would included cases reported to COPFS on that day i.e. 5 October. Cases over 4  weeks old are often awaiting further information from the police or reporting agency or to be rolled up together where there is more than one case against an individual accused to allow all charges to be considered by a court together.

3. How many cases within the COPFS were unmarked on the same date in 2013 & 2009?

On 5 October 2013 there were 11550 cases unmarked, of which 1372 were more than four weeks old.

On 5 October 2009 there were 10728 cases unmarked, of which 3095 were more than four weeks old.

4. How many cases have been dropped because they were out with the time bar (either by the Crown or by way of a judge/Sheriff’s refusal to extend) in September? What were the charges in these cases?

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscals Service’s case management database is a live, operating database. It is designed to meet this Department’s 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.

Cases which are timebarred on receipt are recorded and I can advise that in September 2014 27 such cases were received. I have attached a table detailing the nature of the charges.

Cases in which proceedings having been raised by COPFS where no further action is then taken, either as a result of a decision by the Procurator Fiscal or of a Sheriff, Judge, or Justice of the Peace relating to a timebar issue are not recorded within our database in a way which can be electronically searched to produce the figures you request. Unfortunately, a manual search of several thousand sets of case papers would therefore be required to ascertain the information that you seek. 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. I hope you appreciate that the time required to conduct a manual search of this scale could not be carried out within the cost exemptions set out in FOISA.

These limitations to our ability to provide the figures you have asked for apply equally to questions 5, 6 and 7, so in each case I am only able to provide figures for cases which are timebarred on receipt by COPFS.

5. How many cases were dropped because they were out with the time bar in September 2013 & September 2009? What were the charges in these cases?

Cases which are timebarred on receipt are recorded and I can advise that in September 2013, 36 such cases were received and in September 2009 27 such cases were received. I have attached a table detailing the nature of the charges.

6. How many cases have been dropped because they were out with the time bar between January 1 and September 30 this year? What were the charges in these cases?

Cases which are timebarred on receipt are recorded and I can advise that between January 1 and September 30 this year, 234 such cases were received. I have attached a table detailing the nature of the charges.

7. How many cases were dropped because they were out with the time bar over the same nine month period in 2013 & 2009? Please again break this down into types of charges.

Cases which are timebarred on receipt are recorded and I can advise that between January 1 and September 30 2009, 248 such cases were received and between January 1 and September 30 2013, 358 such cases were received. I have attached a table detailing the nature of the charges.

8. How many employees does COPFS currently have? How many employees did the service have at the same point in 2013 & 2009?

COPFS currently has 1709 members of staff.

In 2013 COPFS had 1678 members of staff

In 2009 COPFS had 1866 members of staff.

9. How many trainee fiscals did the COPFS taken on in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 & 2009?

In 2014 COPFS took on 19 trainees.

2013 COPFS took on 19 trainees.

2012 COPFS took on 19 trainees.

2011 COPFS took on 19 trainees.

2010 COPFS took on 26 trainees.

2009 COPFS took on 27 trainees.

10. How many trainee fiscals were kept on following their training in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 & 2009?”

In 2014 15 trainees remained in the employment of COPFS as Procurator Fiscal Deputes immediately following their traineeships.

In 2013 1 trainee remained in the employment of COPFS as a Procurator Fiscal Depute following their traineeship; although two former trainees remained in the employment of COPFS in other roles, in which they previously had substantive permanent status.

In 2012 2 trainees remained in the employment of COPFS as Procurator Fiscal Deputes immediately following their traineeships. Both of these previously had substantive permanent status.

In 2011 3 trainees remained in the employment of COPFS following their traineeships. However none were employed as Procurator Fiscal Deputes and all three had substantive permanent status and returned to other roles.

In 2010 23 trainees remained in the employment of COPFS as Procurator Fiscal Deputes immediately following their traineeships. 2 had previously had substantive permanent status in another role.

In 2009 24 trainees remained in the employment of COPFS as Procurator Fiscal Deputes immediately following their traineeships. 1 employee had previously had substantive permanent status in another role.

It should be noted that these figures do not include situations where former trainees have returned to COPFS as Procurator Fiscal Deputes after a break in service with COPFS.

Annex A

pdfUnmarked Cases Dropped Cases Members of Staff R008739.pdf17.71 KB