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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-15137: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 8 March 2018

To ask the Scottish Government how many cases under the legislation that deals with stalking offences have been (a) reported to and (b) and investigated by the police each year, also broken down by how many people were consequently (i) arrested, (ii) charged, (iii) prosecuted and (iv) convicted.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 21 March 2018

The number of crimes of stalking at section 39 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 recorded and cleared up by the police in each year since the offence came into force in December 2010 is set out in the following table:

Year

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

Recorded

122

495

605

875

1,251

1,435

1,372

Cleared up

82

392

509

730

1,047

1,186

1,132

A crime or offence is regarded as cleared up where there exists a sufficiency of evidence under Scots law to justify consideration of criminal proceedings, notwithstanding that a report is not submitted to the procurator fiscal because either: (i) by standing agreement with the procurator fiscal the police warn the accused due to the minor nature of the offence or (ii) reporting is inappropriate due to the non-age of the accused, death of the accused, or other similar circumstances.

The Scottish Government does not hold information on the number of people arrested or the number of stalking cases investigated by the police.

The number of people prosecuted and convicted for the offence of stalking is set out in the following table:

Year

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

Guilty

3

52

125

210

401

638

679

Not Guilty

0

15

41

55

120

158

151

Total prosecuted

3

67

166

265

521

796

830

(Where main charge)

There is no direct relationship between the number of crimes recorded by the police and the number of follow-up actions taken by other agencies within the criminal justice system and therefore care should be taken when comparing different data sources relating to the criminal justice system. For example, recorded crime statistics count crimes and offences at the time that they came to the attention of Police Scotland, while criminal proceedings statistics report on cases which have concluded in court. This means that a crime may be recorded by the police in one year and court proceedings concluded in a subsequent year. In addition, a person may be proceeded against for more than one crime involving more than one victim and there is the possibility that the crime recorded by the police may be altered in the course of judicial proceedings.

The Scottish Government does not hold information on the number of people charged, as distinct from the number of people prosecuted, for stalking offences.