The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) today published its Quarterly Statistical Bulletin 2017/18, which presents key statistics on the activity of the PPS including files received, caseloads and prosecutorial decisions. It also covers decision types, including reasons for no prosecution, and the outcomes of prosecutions at court.
The statistics relate to the 2017/18 financial year (i.e. 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018) and includes comparisons with the equivalent period of the 2016/17 financial year.
During the 2017/18 financial year:
- The PPS received a total of 42,395 files which was a decrease of 3.5% on the corresponding period of 2016/17 (43,946). This reduction comprised decreases in files involving hybrid (down 4.9%) and summary (down 2.5%) offence types. At 1,868, the number of files received involving indictable offences, generally the more serious offences reported to the PPS, was similar to that of 2016/17 (1,878).
- There was a rise of 23.1% in the number of files received involving a sexual offence, up from 1,228 in 2016/17 to 1,512.
- The majority of files received were within two offence classifications: 32.6% related to ‘motoring offences’ (13,499) and 27.1% related to ‘violence against the person’ offences (11,194).
- As well as files received from the PSNI, 897 files were submitted by government departments and agencies. Of these, 46.2% were received from the Department for Communities and 39.8% from the Driver and Vehicle Agency.
- A total of 50,231 prosecutorial decisions were issued by the PPS. The Test for Prosecution was met for 69.2% of cases which included 30,725 decisions for prosecution and 4,028 for diversion from the courts.
- Of the 15,478 decisions for no prosecution, the vast majority (96.7%) did not pass the evidential test. The remaining 3.3% did not pass the public interest test.
- On average it took 201 calendar days for the issue of indictable prosecution decisions (prosecution in the Crown Court) which is fourteen days more than in 2016/17 (187 days). Summary prosecutions decisions (prosecution in the Magistrates’ or Youth Court) required on average 33 days, also an increase on the previous period (25 days).
- There were 1,510 defendants dealt with in the Crown Court. This was a decrease of 32.9% on the previous financial year (2,250)1. The overall conviction rate in the Crown Court was 84.8% compared with 86.4% in 2016/17.
A total of 28,066 defendants were dealt with in the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts, a decrease of 0.2% on 2016/17 (28,128). The conviction rate in the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts was 80.0%, an increase on 2016/17 (78.9%).
The full bulletin and infographic may be viewed or downloaded here:
1 It should be noted that the volume of cases dealt with during 2016-17 was well above normal levels. The withdrawal of defence services by the Bar Council and Law Society, in response to the Legal Aid reforms introduced by the Department of Justice, meant that no new cases were conducted in the Crown Court over the period from May 2015 to February 2016. Following the resolution of the dispute, the backlog of cases then had to be dealt with during the 2016/17 financial year.