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Prosecution on Indictment in relation to Housebreaking (R009322)

Freedom of Information: Prosecution on Indictment in relation to Housebreaking (R009322)

Thank you for your e-mail of 18 December 2014 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in which you seek the following information: 

“Can you tell me how many people have been prosecuted on indictment in relation to housebreaking since the crackdown was enforced and what was the outcome (i.e. disposal) in each case?”

The information that you have requested has been provided at Annex A and includes charges of theft by housebreaking and attempted theft by housebreaking.

The Solicitor General, Lesley Thomson QC, launched the policy that you have referred to on 16 December 2013 and this has remained in force. As such, there is still a presumption that individuals that break in or attempt to break into domestic premises will be prosecuted on indictment. The evaluation of this policy is still ongoing.

On that basis, the information provided relates to all charges of housebreaking or attempted housebreaking prosecuted on indictment that were reported to COPFS between 16 December 2013 and 15 December 2014. 

You should be aware that COPFS uses a live operational case management system, specifically designed to receive criminal and death reports from the police and other specialist reporting agencies and to manage the cases for prosecution purposes.  The information held on the system is structured for these operational needs, rather than for statistical reporting or research purposes.

The policy which you have referred to only relates to housebreaking and attempted housebreaking involving domestic premises. However, because of the way that housebreaking offences are recorded on the COPFS electronic case management system it is not possible to distinguish whether such an offence was committed at a domestic or a commercial premises without considering all such cases manually. Section 1(1) of FOISA Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 does not oblige a Scottish public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request exceeds a specified financial threshold, which is currently £600.  We estimate that due to the volume of cases, manually checking all such cases to comply with this request would exceed the £600 threshold.

As such, the information that you have been provided includes housebreaking offences committed at both domestic and commercial premises. 

Annex A

Number of Theft by Housebreaking and Attempted Theft by Housebreaking charges prosecuted on indictment and the outcome of those proceedings (for charges reported between 16 December 2013 and 15 December 2014)




Not Convicted




No Further Action




Sentences imposed by the Court in the charges that resulted in a conviction


Children’s Hearing


Community Payback Order


Drug Treatment and Testing Order




Restriction of Liberty Order


Young Offenders Institute