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COPFS

Prosecutions – Greenock

4 July 2013 

Freedom of Information Request: Prosecutions – Greenock

Thank you for your letter of 17 May 2013 in which you request information in terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Your letter has been passed to me to reply.

You have asked that we provide information concerning the prosecution of cases within the Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Courts at Greenock. Specifically you have asked for the following:

1. Since 1 January 2013 the percentage of cases reported to Greenock Procurator Fiscal Office which have been the subject of prosecution in the Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Courts.

2. The overall number of cases that have been reported since 1 January 2013.

3. The number of cases reported to Greenock Procurator Fiscal Office since 1 January 2013 that have been the subject of diversion from prosecution.

4. A breakdown of the equivalent figures for 2011 and 2012.

As you will be aware some cases will include more than one accused and the action taken for each accused is not always the same. Accordingly the information provided concerns the number of accused prosecuted as opposed to the number of cases. The information provided covers the period of 1 January to 1 May of each year as requested. Of those accused who have an initial petition marking some may ultimately have been reduced to summary prosecution.

I have assumed that in your request for information concerning the figures for diversion you are seeking information on those cases where the action taken by the prosecutor has been to mark the case for a direct measure and not just the marking for a diversion scheme. I have provided both sets of figures. Direct measures may be issued in some less serious cases where the Procurator Fiscal considers that it is in the public interest to take action but that prosecution in court may not be the most appropriate action to take. Each case is assessed on its own facts and circumstances.

The information is provided in the table below:

Criminal Cases Received – 1 January to 1 May

2011

2012

2013

Number of Accused

1,539

1,541

1,580

No of Accused with eventual marking of Summary prosecution

688

645

669

Percentage prosecuted in summary court

44.7%

41.9%

42.3%

No of Accused offered a Diversion

3

8

3

No of Accused offered a Direct Measure (inc Diversion)

536

598

651

% given a Direct Measure

35%

39%

41%

No of Accused with Petition marking

75

56

64

% with Petition marking

4.9%

3.6%

4.1%



Finally you have also asked for confirmation of the local policy on the marking of cases for diversion and whether a decision has been taken locally to refrain from prosecuting criminal behaviour. No such decision has been taken.

As you will be aware Procurators Fiscal mark cases for action having considered both evidential requirements and the public interest. Guidance on the factors involved in determining whether prosecution is appropriate is contained within the Prosecution Code which is a publically available document and can be accessed on the COPFS public website at:

http://www.crownoffice.gov.uk/publications/prosecution-policy-and-guidance

Each case is considered on its own circumstances and these guidelines form the basis for any decision taken to mark a case for diversion or prosecution.