Freedom of Information: Diversion – 16/17 year olds (R008982)
Thank you for your e-mail of 6 November 2014 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):
“As part of my research, I am exploring the practice of diversion from Prosecution in relation to 16/17 year olds. I am looking to obtain as much data as I can pertaining to this so as much as you can send me on this topic would be much appreciated! In particular I am interested in studying the patterns over the years in relation to diversion use for 16/17 year olds (from around 2003 if possible) up until the most recent data collected.
Ideally, I am looking for the following information:
- The number of 16 and 17 year olds diverted from prosecution since 2003 across Scotland and what diversion disposals have been used; (data on the total number of referrals; and number of actual young people referred would both be very good to look at).
- How many diversion programmes were completed
Additionally, if possible I would like the above information to be broken down by:
1) AREA - every local authority and if this is not possible, broken down by federation (or indeed broken down by area in any other means you can).
2) AGE - total 16 year olds and total 17 year olds
If you require any clarification on the above points please don't hesitate to ask.”
We have now completed our search for the information you have requested and I attach four tables containing information relative to your request.
I should explain firstly that whilst we have provided figures in response to your request our case management system is not designed to provide statistical information. It is a live, operating database and the information contained within it is structured accordingly.
I am unable to provide you with details of each diversion used other than giving separate information for the Driver Improvement Scheme. This is because our case management system only distinguishes between these types of diversions.
However information on the other types of diversion open to the Procurator Fiscal is contained at page 10 of the “Prosecution Code” which is accessible on the COPFS web-site using the link below.
An explanation of the “Driver Improvement Scheme” is also accessible on the COPFS web-site using the link below.
Table 1 contains the total numbers of 16 and 17 years old subjects reported to COPFS who were considered suitable for diversion under the Driver Improvement Scheme from 2003 to 2014 broken down into Federation and gender.
Table 2 contains the total number of subjects considered suitable for diversion under the Driver Improvement Scheme from 2003 to 2014 with an outcome of successful diversion.
Table 3 contains the total numbers of 16 and 17 years old subjects reported to COPFS which have been considered suitable for diversion from 2003 to 2014 broken down into Federation and gender.
Table 4 contains the total number of subjects considered suitable for diversion with an outcome of successful diversion.
In relation to the aspect of your request “what diversion disposals have been used”, although the use of the word disposal would suggest the final outcome of the referral, I have interpreted this aspect of your request as the type of diversion used in each case. As explained above we are unable to electronically search for this level of detail in relation to the information provided within the tables. To be able to identify the types of diversion in each case would require a manual search of the relevant case papers. The time required to undertake this search could not be carried out within the cost exemptions set out in FOISA. 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.
If, however, you are referring to the outcome of referrals, a diversion and Driver Improvement Scheme referral will either be closed on our electronic system as successful or if considered to have been unsuccessful the case will be reconsidered by legal staff and will receive a further appropriate marking depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Information on other case processing markings is accessible on the COPFS web-site using the link below.