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This topic covers statistics on offenders dealt with by criminal court proceedings, formal police cautions, reprimands and final warnings. It also includes statistics on the number of penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) issued. Information is available by category of offence, with gender and age breakdowns.

Publications

Criminal Justice System Information
Department: Justice
This quarterly publication presents management information from the criminal justice system (CJS) in England & Wales covering effectiveness and efficiency of the CJS in bringing offences to justice, recovery of criminal assets, confiscation and enforcement. Additionally, survey results are presented covering public confidence in the fairness and effectiveness of the CJS and the experience of the CJS for victims and witnesses.
Criminal Justice System Performance Information
Department: Justice
Management information on the performance of the criminal justice system in line with Public Service Agreement (PSA) 24 performance indicators for local criminal justice boards in England & Wales. PSA 24 covers delivery of a more effective, transparent and responsive criminal justice system for victims and the public.
Criminal Justice System statistics quarterly
Department: Justice
Quarterly national statistics release on the Criminal Justice System at national level, England and Wales.
Criminal Justice in Wales
Department: Welsh Government
This Statistial Bulletin presents information on criminal justice in Wales
Criminal Justice: Social Work Statistics, Scotland
Department: Scottish Government
Statistics on social enquiry reports, community service, probation and other social work orders, including breaches of orders.
Criminal Proceedings in Scottish Courts
Department: Scottish Government
Statistics on criminal proceedings concluded in Scottish Courts, motor vehicle offences, and bail orders and offences.
Crown Court Bulletin
Department: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
This publication contains information on the Crown Court in Northern Ireland in relation to cases received and dealt with, defendants received and dealt with, waiting times, pleas and findings and Crown Court sittings.
Magistrates' Court Bulletin
Department: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
This publication contains information on the criminal magistrates' courts in Northern Ireland in relation to adult and youth magistrates' courts, court sitting times, number and type of charges brought and outcome of defendants. Information on civil applications received and disposed and average waiting times is also included in this publication.
Magistrates’ Courts Time Intervals Survey, England and Wales
Department: Justice
The quarterly release presents results from a one-week survey of criminal cases completed in magistrates' courts in England and Wales. The publication contains estimates of the average time between key milestone dates in a case, broken down by case type and criminal justice area. It is a key source of data on timeliness in the criminal justice system.
Race and the Criminal Justice System
Department: Justice
This publication fulfils a statutory obligation for the Secretary of State to publish, annually, information relating to the criminal justice system with reference to avoiding discrimination on the ground of race. The publication reports statistical information on the representation of black and minority ethnic groups as suspects, offenders and victims within the criminal justice system and on employees within criminal justice agencies.
Reconviction rates in Scotland
Department: Scottish Government
One and two year reconviction rates by offender type for offenders released from custody or starting a community sentence in 2005-06 and 2006-07.
Tribunal Service quarterly statistics
Department: Justice
Quarterly report on Tribunal performance statistics including volumetrics and performance indicators.
Youth Crime:
Department: Education
This release will provide local level information on the number of young people aged 10-17 receiving their first reprimand, warning or conviction. It is based on data recorded on the Police National Computer and will include 6 monthly data. The statistics inform local areas of the number of first-time entrants aged 10-17 to the criminal justice system in their area. This release was previously published by the Department for Education; future editions, including this one, will be published by the Ministry of Justice.
Youth custody data
Department: Justice
Monthly statistics on the population in custody of children and young people within secure children's homes, secure training centres (STCs) and young offender institutions (YOIs). This includes those aged under 18 and 18 year olds.

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Overview

Summaries are available of court proceedings, cautions and penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) for criminal offences including outcomes (guilty or not guilty). Information is only available in aggregate form, covering all criminal proceedings concluded within the calendar year.

Associated outputs include the number of offences brought to justice (OBTJ), which are also published in this series. The variable categories available for the court data at an aggregate level are:

  • gender 

  • age group (10 to 11, 12 to 14, 15 to 17, 18 to 20 and 21 plus) 

  • offence groups 

  • outcome at court and sentence given (guilty, discharged, dismissed, fine, community sentence, imprisonment)

  • police force area

Cautions and PND data are available for the following variables:

  • gender

  • age group 

  • offence 

  • police force area

OBTJs are a count of offences dealt with by convictions, cautions, PNDs, formal warnings for cannabis possession and offences taken into consideration at court (TiC).

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Technical Data

Data Collection and Limitations

The information presented is in accordance with the 1996 Police Act which places responsibility on the police to provide information pertaining to offenders and criminal proceedings to enable a consolidated and classified abstract to be published.

The court data collected focuses specifically on the final outcome of proceedings at magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court. The information relates to criminal proceeding only instigated by the police, other agencies (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for car tax evasion) or even private organisations or individuals.

The data are supplied by the police or courts by arrangement using various administrative data systems and are therefore subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Although some of the data presented are to the last digit, the figures are not necessarily accurate to that level of detail. These limitations need to be taken into account when interpreting the data presented.

The types of offence covered in the publication are indictable (including triable-either-way offences), summary non-motoring and summary motoring. The data presented, apart from that for offences brought to justice, are on a principal offence basis, that is an offender is only included once for each set of court proceedings completed irrespective of the number of offences dealt with at that hearing. Where a proceeding involves more than one offence, the basis for the selection of the principal offence is as follows:

  • where a defendant is found guilty of one and acquitted of another, the offence selected is the one for which the defendant is found guilty

  • where a defendant is found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest sentence is imposed

  • where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe

Data on Offences Brought to Justice (OBTJs)

An offence is considered to have been brought to justice when an offender has been cautioned, convicted or had the offence taken into consideration. In addition, penalty notices for three notifiable disorder offences plus cannabis warnings are included following their introduction nationally during 2004. The method of counting offences for the OBTJ measure differs from the one adopted for recorded crime figures.

A single recorded crime can result in more than one conviction or caution and can therefore lead to more than one offence being counted as brought to justice. For example, if a crime is recorded, and as a result, three offenders are convicted each for two offences against the same victim, this counts as a single recorded crime but as six offences brought to justice.

For most offences there will be a delay between the offence being recorded and it being brought to justice; this may result in recorded crimes being counted in one period and OBTJ figures in another. These factors should be borne in mind when the two series are being compared.

Criminal Statistics (CS) and Judicial and Court Statistics (JCS) both contain data on the number of proceedings heard in the Crown Court. However, while both sets of figures are produced from the same core source (the CREST system used to administer Crown Court cases), they are not directly comparable as there are known differences between them. 

These are because of a number of factors, including differences in the data collation mechanics and the counting and validation rules used, and they reflect the different underlying drivers of the analyses being performed.

CS counts numbers of defendants and is focused on the final outcomes of criminal court proceedings, while JCS counts numbers of cases, which may consist of one or more defendants, and is focused on flows through the court system.

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Glossary

  • Cautioning

    A caution can be given when there is sufficient evidence for a conviction and it is not considered to be in the public interest to institute criminal proceedings. Additionally, the offender must admit guilt and consent to a caution in order for one to be given. A caution may be given by, or on the instructions of, a senior police officer. Cautions have traditionally been most used for first time offenders.

  • Charging

    The Criminal Justice Act 2003 required that the decision to charge a person in all but the most minor or routine offences is now undertaken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The police remain responsible for responding to allegations that a person has committed a crime, deciding whether an investigation is required and conducting it. The police may then decide to take no further action (above) or refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for early advice or a charging decision under the Charging Scheme.

  • Conviction

    When a person is found guilty of an offence in a court.

  • Defendant

    A person or company against whom a charge is brought in court.

  • Detections

    Crimes that have been ‘cleared up’ by the police (previously known as clear ups).

  • Fixed penalties

    The police may issue a fixed penalty notice for a wide range of motoring offences. Unpaid notices are registered as a fine by magistrates' courts without any court appearance being necessary. The court will then pursue payment of the amount.

  • Indictable Offence

    These offences are the most serious breaches of criminal law. They can be classified into two groups. Those that can only be tried at the Crown Court and triable-either-way offences that may be tried at magistrates’ courts or the Crown Court.

  • Non Sanction detection

    An offence with no positive outcome because of underlying circumstances. For example, the offender dies or the Crown Prosecution Service decides to take no further action.

  • Offence

    An act punishable by law.

  • Offender

    A person found guilty or cautioned for breaking the law.

  • Penalty notices for disorder (PND)

    These were piloted in four police force areas commencing August 2002 and introduced nationally from April 2004 under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001. They were introduced as part of the Government’s strategy to tackle low-level, anti-social and nuisance offending. The police may issue a PND for one of twenty five offences including three notifiable offences.

  • Police remand and summons

    Once an accused person is charged, the law requires that they are brought before a magistrates’ court as soon as possible. There are three main methods of ensuring the defendant attends court. The first is that they have been held in custody by the police to appear as soon as practicable. Secondly, they may have been released on bail to attend court. Finally, a person may be summoned to appear in court.

  • Recorded detection

    Police recorded crimes are those crimes which are recorded by the police and notified to the Home Office. All indictable and triable-either-way offences are included together with certain closely associated summary offences.

  • Remands

    The police can release arrestees on bail or place them in custody prior to court proceedings starting. Courts can also use both types of remand when adjourning a hearing or committing a defendant to the Crown Court for trial or sentence. 

  • Reprimands and warnings

    Piloted under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 between September 1998 and May 2000 and implemented nationally from 1 June 2000. They replace the system of cautioning for young offenders aged under 18. Reprimands can be given to first-time offenders for minor offences. Any further offending results in either a final warning or a charge. The final warning triggers immediate referral to a local youth offending team which will assess the young person and, unless they consider it inappropriate, prepare a rehabilitation programme designed to tackle the reasons for the young person’s offending behaviour and to prevent any future offending.

  • Sanction detection

    A crime cleared by positive action on completion, that is, at least one offender being charged, given a caution, issued with a penalty notice for disorder or a cannabis warning, or the offence is taken into consideration at court.

  • Summary Offence

    These offences can be heard at magistrates’ courts only, unless committed to the Crown Court for trial alongside at least one indictable offence, and have a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment.

  • Triable-either-way offence

    These offences may be tried either at the Crown Court or a magistrates’ court.

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Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

John Marais

Email: john.marais@cjs.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7035 4634

John Marais Office for Criminal Justice Reform Ground Floor Fry Building 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF

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