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COPFS

Fraud

13 March 2013

Freedom of Information Request: Fraud

Thank you for your request 14 January 2013 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), in which you requested information (for possible publication) namely:

"1) Information on how many frauds (in total) were referred to the COPFS, how many of them were taken forward to prosecution, and the subsequent outcome of that prosecution. We would like the data for 3 years, between 1 December 2009 and 30 November 2012. Ideally we would like the data broken down into which Police Force referred the case and which COPFS subsequently dealt with it.

2) Are there a number of criteria considered in the prosecution of a fraud case? If so, what are these?

3) In the circumstances where a case was not prosecuted, we would be interested in any comment / rationale for the decision not to prosecute?

On 24 January, I discussed this with one of your team who was able to confirm that you were interested in ALL fraud charges and not just those in excess of £50,000. We discussed the time period for this data and agreed that due to the time taken to investigate and prosecute charges, it would be best to limit this request to include charges reported in the last 3 complete financial years. The system records "charges" and any one case against an individual can include more than one charge.

It may help to explain that Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (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 Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is the sole prosecuting authority in Scotland.

I refer to the questions you have asked and have responded in chronological order:

Question 1 - Table 1 annexed contains the figures you have requested.

Question 2/3 - Information about the criteria for decisions to prosecute and alternatives to prosecution can be found on the COPFS web site -

www.crownoffice.gov.uk/Publications/2005/06/Prosecution-Code

Annex A

Table 1:    Charges of Fraud1 reported to COPFS in last 3 financial years



2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

Total

Number of charges reported

8,711

7,100

6,643

22,454

Number of charges prosecuted

4,461

3,405

2,953

10,819

No of charges convicted

2,175

1,582

1,206

4,963

Charges with court proceedings ongoing

118

232

756

1,106

Number of charges relating to persons dealt with by 'direct measures' 2

1,219

1,039

1,070

3,328

 

 

Note

  1. To ensure consistency with other Scottish published statistics, the Scottish Government classification for 'fraud' has been used to extract data for this request.
  2. Direct Measures includes Fiscal Fines, Fiscal Compensation Orders, Diversion, Warnings, Work Orders and referrals to the Reporter.