Public Prosecution Service publishes Annual Statistical Bulletin

Date published: 09 July 2020


The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) today published its Statistical Bulletin 2019/20, 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 2019/20 financial year (i.e. 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020) and includes comparisons with the 2018/19 financial year.

Key findings

During 2019/20:

  • The PPS received a total of 43,332 files, an increase of 0.1% on 2018/19 (43,298). Of these 43,332 files, 42,383 were received from Police.
  • The majority of files received from police were within two offence classifications: 30.2% related to ‘motoring offences’ (12,813) and 26.8% related to ‘violence against the person’ offences (11,356). There was a rise of 8.7% in the number of files received involving drugs offences and a 10.1% decrease in fraud and forgery offences.
  • In addition to the files received from the PSNI, 949 files were submitted to PPS by government departments and agencies. Of these, 40.3% were received from the Driver and Vehicle Agency and 29.2% from the Department for Communities.
  • A total of 50,174 prosecutorial decisions were issued by the PPS. The Test for Prosecution was met for 69.6% of cases which included 31,447 decisions for prosecution and 3,464 for diversion from the courts.
  • Of the 15,263 decisions for no prosecution, the vast majority (96.8%) did not pass the evidential test. The remaining 3.2% did not pass the public interest test.
  • Median calendar days required for the issue of an indictable prosecution decision (prosecution in the Crown Court) decreased during the period to 148 days, down from 166 days during 2018/19. Summary prosecutions decisions (prosecution in the Magistrates’ or Youth Court) required a median of 4 days, unchanged from the previous financial year.
  • There were 1,576 defendants dealt with in the Crown Court. This was an increase of 8.1% on the previous financial year (1,458). The overall conviction rate in the Crown Court was 87.6% compared with 84.4% in 2018/19.
  • A total of 28,936 defendants were dealt with in the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts, a decrease of 0.8% on 2018/19 (29,155). The conviction rate in the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts was 81.3%, similar to 2018/19 (81.1%).

Further information

This summary should be read in conjunction with the explanatory notes and user information provided (see pages 17-21 of the Statistical Bulletin).

These are ‘Official Statistics’ as defined in Section 6 of the Statistics and Registration Services Act 2007. Statisticians from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency are seconded to the PPS and are responsible for ensuring that the statistics produced comply with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

The information presented in this bulletin is derived from the Case Management System, the main operational system within the PPS. This is a ‘live’ system with data being input on a daily basis.

The Quarterly Statistical Bulletin may be viewed or downloaded on the PPS website.

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