First Time Entrants to the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland 2022/23 published

Date published: 27 June 2024

The Department of Justice has published the official statistics publications ‘First Time Entrants to the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland 2022/23’.

graphic - doj news

The bulletin presents information on first time entrants (or, disposals relating to first offences) to the criminal justice system disaggregated by age, gender, offence category and disposal type for 2022/23.  The key findings were as follows:


  • In 2022/23, 29,520 offences were recorded as dealt with by conviction or diversion in the justice system in Northern Ireland. Of these, 25.8% (7,624) were first offences. The comparative figure for 2021/22 was 24.4%.
  • Of first offences, 26.0% (1,982) were dealt with by formal diversionary disposal and 74.0% (5,642) by conviction.


  • Of all first time entrants in 2022/23, 8.8% (668) were aged 10 to 17 and 28.0% (2,137) were aged 18 to 24.
  • Those aged 10 to 17 were most likely (89.2% or 596 out of 668) to receive a diversion for a first offence. 76.5% (375) of first time entrants aged 60 and over received a conviction.
  • Of all offences committed by males[1] and dealt with by conviction or diversion, 22.7% (5,390) were first offences; the comparative figure for females was 39.0% (2,234).


  • Over half, 57.6% (4,392) of all first offences in 2022/23 were motoring offences. Of all instances where a conviction or diversion was issued for offences in that category, 35.4% were for first offences.
  • Monetary disposals made up 59.1% (4,505) of all disposals for first offences in 2022/23. First offences accounted for 31.1% of all instances where a monetary penalty was imposed in relation to a conviction or diversion.
  • Of all instances where imprisonment was imposed as a penalty, first offences accounted for only 6.4% (225 out of 3,520).
  • First offences accounted for 53.0% (1,982) of all instances where a diversionary disposal was issued. Of first offences dealt with by diversion, 74.0% (1,467) were dealt with by way of caution. However, while 51.4% of all cautions were for first offences, 87.7% (272) of all informed warnings issued were for first offences.



Notes to editors: 

1.  This bulletin presents information on first time entrants (first offences) to the criminal justice system disaggregated by age, gender, offence category and disposal type for 2022/23. 

2.  The data used in this bulletin were taken from the Causeway Data Sharing Mechanism (DSM1). They were extracted primarily based on records contained on the Criminal Records Viewer (CRV). The CRV is held on Causeway and utilises data which originated in the PSNI, PPS and from Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service.  Causeway is an interconnected information system, launched as a joint undertaking by the Criminal Justice Organisations (CJOs) in Northern Ireland.

3.  Figures for first time entrants to the justice system in Northern Ireland, as reported in this bulletin, are based on those who have had a conviction at any time since 1960 and those who had either a conviction or a diversionary disposal since the implementation of the Causeway system DSM1, in December 2009. This means that the reported rate of first offences may be slightly higher than the actuality, as, in some cases, first offences would have been dealt with by means of diversionary disposal, information on which is not available prior to the introduction of DSM1.  However, any likely impact should lessen with the passing of time.  Reoffending statistics suggest that, in most crime categories, persons who commit a proven reoffence do so within one year.  As a result, the first year when it might be considered that the effect of diversions data being unavailable for the period prior to 2010 might be reduced, is 2011/12 and data in this series are available from that point forward.  Data for the 2023/24 year will be published in summer 2025.

4.  Official Statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.  They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs and are produced free from any political interference.  They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access.  Our statistical practice is regulated by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR).

5.  OSR sets the standards of trustworthiness, quality and value in the Code of Practice for Statistics that all producers of official statistics should adhere to.

6.  You are welcome to contact us directly with any comments about how we meet these standards. Alternatively, you can contact OSR by emailing or via the OSR website.

7.  The bulletin will be available in PDF format from either the Publication Section of this website or Analytical Services Group, Financial Services Division, Block B, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3SG

8.  For media enquiries please contact press office via Email

9.  The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.




[1] Figures for Males also include organisations, transgender and gender not specified, due to the small numbers involved.

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