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COPFS

Dog Fouling - Fixed Penalty Notices

Freedom of Information: Dog Fouling - Fixed Penalty Notices

Thank you for your letter dated 14 October 2013 addressed to Ms Michelle MacLeod at the Procurator Fiscal's Office, Edinburgh in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in relation to unpaid dog fouling fixed penalty notices:

"How many cases of failure to pay a Fixed Penalty Notice have in fact resulted in prosecution."

Your request has been forwarded to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Response and Information Unit (formerly the Customer Care Unit) for response. You have also requested that we provide a general statement regarding our approach to prosecution of dog fouling cases.

In Scotland we have strong resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and have regard to how their actions affect the quality of life of others living in their community. In support of this COPFS takes allegations of dog fouling seriously and has robust case marking guidelines in place. Offences of this nature reported to the Procurator Fiscal where there is a sufficiency of evidence disclosed will be prosecuted or as alternative to prosecution be offered a Direct Measure where the accused may be given a warning by the Procurator Fiscal or given the option of paying a fine. In doing so members of the public are spared the inconvenience of attending as witnesses, and courts are freed up to spend time dealing with more serious cases.

We have now completed our search for the information you request, and can report as follows:

You did not specify a time period in your request so I have provided the most recent data which is relative to financial year 2012 to 2013. You were also not specific about the reporting area so I have provided information for cases reported to the Procurator Fiscal in East Federation which covers your constituency of Edinburgh Northern and Leith and will be of most interest to your constituents.

I should firstly explain that COPFS uses a live, operational case management system, specifically designed to receive crime and fatality 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 therefore I apologise that I cannot identify from the database whether the cases referred to in the following table were reported as a result of an unpaid fixed penalty. The figures do relate however to cases involving dog fouling in East Federation reported to the Procurator Fiscal during the financial year 2012 to 2013. The information you have requested is contained in the table below.

 

Outcome where proceedings were raised for dog fouling cases in East Federation during financial year 2012 to 1013

Number of cases

Convicted

27

Not Convicted

2

Ongoing

2

No Further Action

20

Total

51


There were a total of 100 cases of this type received during the financial year 2012 to 2013. You will note that of the 100 cases received we raised summary proceedings in 51 cases which is over half of the total cases of this type reported during the period. Convictions were achieved in 27 of the 51 cases. An outcome of not convicted was recorded for 2 cases; 2 matters are currently ongoing; and no further action was taken in 20 cases where we initially raised proceedings. The main reason we decided to take no further action was for failed service of the complaint.

Of the 49 remaining cases, direct measures were instructed in 23 cases. Direct measures are used as an alternative to prosecution and the accused may be given a warning by the Procurator Fiscal or given the option of paying a fine. This way, the accused does not have a criminal conviction recorded against their name, members of the public are spared the inconvenience of attending as witnesses, and courts are freed up to spend time dealing with more serious cases. No Action was instructed in the remaining 26 cases.