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COPFS

Crimes of recklessness

Freedom of Information: Crimes of Recklessness

6 September 2013

Thank you for your requests dated 31 July and 9 August under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the following information:

  1. Since 1993 how many cases involving crimes of recklessness have been marked 'no proceedings' where the accused in such cases were individuals under the age of 16?
  2. Were such cases marked 'no proceedings', wholly or partly, due to the age and lack of capacity of the accused to appreciate the risks in the circumstances?
  3. Since 1993 how many cases involving crimes of recklessness have been marked 'no proceedings' where the accused in such cases were individuals under the age of 16 and were referred to the Children's Hearing System?
  4. Since 1993 how many cases involving crimes of recklessness have been marked 'no proceedings' where the accused in such cases were vulnerable adults with learning difficulties or psychological problems?
  5. Were such cases marked 'no proceedings', wholly or partly, due to the lack of capacity of the accused to appreciate the risks in the circumstances?
  6. Since 1993 how many cases involving crimes of recklessness have been prosecuted where the accused were under 16 or adults with learning difficulties or psychological problems?

 

 

We have now completed our search for the information you request, and for ease of reference I have attached two tables containing a breakdown of the figures on a year by year basis.

You specified that you wished the information “since 1993”, however, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) completed an upgrade of its electronic case management system in April 2002.  Only case records created after that date contain complete data which is capable of electronic analysis, therefore, the figures in the tables are from 2002 onwards.  I can advise that the information you requested for the years prior to 2002 is not held by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service because it was routinely destroyed, in accordance with our standard records management practice, before the date of your request.

Please also note that the tables do not include any charges which were merged with another charge, or which did not proceed as a separate offence for court purposes.  If any accused was referred to the Reporter or No Action was instructed then all charges appear in the tables.

In your e-mail of 9 August you enquired if ‘reckless damage’ charges include charges of vandalism under Section 52 of the Criminal Law (Consolidation)(Scotland) Act 1995.  I can advise that these are two separate charges and both have been included in the collation of your request.

1. Since 1993 how many cases involving crimes of recklessness have been marked 'no proceedings' where the accused in such cases were individuals under the age of 16?

Please see Table 2 for this reply. As stated above, the data is from 2002 onwards.

  1. Were such cases marked 'no proceedings', wholly or partly, due to the age and lack of capacity of the accused to appreciate the risks in the circumstances?

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscals Service’s case management database is a live, operating database. It is designed to meet COPFS’ business needs in relation to the processing of criminal 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, i.e. to prepare court documentation; to send and receive electronic information regarding court appearances and results; to cite witnesses; to deal with issues relating to disclosure of information to the defence, etc.  The information you have requested is not recorded within our database and therefore we cannot carry out an electronic search to obtain the information.

In order to ascertain whether the information is held, we would require to carry out a manual search of each case concerned. Some of these records will have been destroyed in accordance with our published Records Management policy. In this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600.  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.

We are not, therefore, able to provide this information.

  1. Since 1993 how many cases involving crimes of recklessness have been marked 'no proceedings' where the accused in such cases were individuals under the age of 16 and were referred to the Children's Hearing System?

If an accused was referred to the Reporter to the Children’s Panel, these are not treated as “No Proceedings” but are coded as “To Reporter”.  Please see Table 2 for this reply.

  1. Since 1993 how many cases involving crimes of recklessness have been marked 'no proceedings' where the accused in such cases were vulnerable adults with learning difficulties or psychological problems?

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscals Service’s case management database is a live, operating database as explained above.  The information you have requested is not recorded within our database and therefore we cannot carry out an electronic search to obtain the information.

In order to ascertain whether the information is held, we would require to carry out a manual search of each case concerned. Some of these records will have been destroyed in accordance with our published Records Management policy. In this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600.  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.

We are not, therefore, able to provide this information.

  1. Were such cases marked 'no proceedings', wholly or partly, due to the lack of capacity of the accused to appreciate the risks in the circumstances?

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscals Service’s case management database is a live, operating database as explained above. The information you have requested is not recorded within our database and therefore we cannot carry out an electronic search to obtain the information.

In order to ascertain whether the information is held, we would require to carry out a manual search of each case concerned. Some of these records will have been destroyed in accordance with our published Records Management policy. In this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600.  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.

We are not, therefore, able to provide this information.

  1. Since 1993 how many cases involving crimes of recklessness have been prosecuted where the accused were under 16 or adults with learning difficulties or psychological problems?

The information you required regarding adults with learning difficulties or psychological problems is not held by COPFS in a way which could be searched under our databases.

In order to ascertain whether the information is held, we would require to carry out a manual search of each case concerned. Some of these records will have been destroyed in accordance with our published Records Management policy. In this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600.  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.

We are not, therefore, able to provide this information.

The information is available for accused who are under 16.  Please see Table 2 for this reply.

Table 1:       Breakdown of Charges for U16s from 2002-2013

Charge Translation

Number of charges

Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 S52(1)&(3) - Vandalism

13,988

Malicious Mischief

1,777

Culpable & Reckless Conduct

1,462

Culpable & Reckless Fireraising

186

Reckless Discharge of Firearm

92

Culpable & Reckless Discharge of Firearm

64

Reckless Fireraising

33

Culpable & Reckless Driving

6

Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S37(1)&(3)(a) - Intentionally or recklessly penetrating with penis the vagina/anus/mouth of another

6

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 S1(1)(a) - Intentionally or recklessly kill/injure/take a wild bird

5

Reckless Damage

4

Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 S6 - Communicate threatening material to another to carry out violent or reckless act to cause fear or alarm

3

Culpable, Wilful & Reckless Supply to Danger of Life

1

Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 S37(1)&(3)(b) - Intentionally or recklessly using mouth to sexually touch the vagina/anus/penis of another older child

1

Grand Total

17,628

 

Table 2:       Action taken re charges (Questions 1, 3, 6)



02-03

03-04

04-05

05-06

06-07

07-08

08-09

09-10

10-11

11-12

12-13

Accused closed as "No Action"

189

335

380

157

644

172

114

57

36

53

12

Accused "to Reporter"

1,203

1,303

1,514

1,907

2,734

1,949

1,264

755

182

318

222

Accused "prosecuted"

122

498

393

88

114

95

86

34

20

25

10