First Time Entrants to the Justice System in Northern Ireland 2017/18’ published today

Date published: 26 June 2019

The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published the Research and Statistical Bulletin ‘First Time Entrants to the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland 2017/18’. It is an Official Statistics Publication.

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 2017/18.  The key findings were as follows:

SUMMARY

  • In 2017/18, a total of 28,055 offences were recorded as dealt with by conviction or diversion in the justice system in Northern Ireland. Of these, 8,210 (29.3%) were first offences and 19,845 were further offences.   The proportion of offences in 2016/17 which were first offences was 29.8%.
  • Of first offences, 31.3% (2,568) were dealt with by way of formal diversionary disposal, compared to 68.7% (5,642) which were dealt with by conviction.
     
    AGE GROUP and GENDER
  • Of all first time entrants to the criminal justice system in 2017/18, 8.8% (721) were in the 10 – 17 year old age group and 25.8% (2,122) were in the 18 – 24 year old age group.
  • First offences accounted for 56.8% (2,568) of all instances where a diversionary disposal was issued in 2017/18.  Those in the 10 – 17 year old age group were most likely (90.6%, 653) to receive a diversion for a first offence. 
  • Of all offences dealt with by conviction or diversion, 25.6% (5,800) by males[1] were first offences, compared to 44.6% (2,410) by females. 
     
    OFFENCE TYPE and DISPOSALS RECEIVED
  • Over half, 58.8% (4,830) of all first offences in 2017/18 were motoring offences.  Of all instances where a conviction or diversion was issued for offences in that category in 2017/18, 40.7% were for first offences.
  • Monetary disposals made up 55.9% (4,591) of all disposals for first offences in 2017/18. First offences accounted for 34.9% 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 in 2017/18, first offences accounted for only 6.1% (177 out of 2,908).
  • 56.8% (2,568) of all cases dealt with by diversion were for first offences.  Of first offences dealt with by diversion, 78.9% (2,027) were dealt with by way of caution. However, while 56.8% of all cautions were for first offences, 87.2% (287) of all informed warnings issued were for first offences.  

[1]   Figures for Males also include organisations, transgender and gender not specified.

Notes to editors: 

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 2017/18. 

 

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.

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 2018/19 year will be published in summer 2020.

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. 

Further information on this Research and Statistical bulletin is available at justice-ni/statistics publications or alternatively by contacting:


Analytical Services Group
Financial Services Division
Block B, Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate
Upper Newtownards Road
Belfast
BT4 3SG

Email: statistics.research@justice-ni.x.gsi.gov.uk 

Press queries about this publication should be directed to the DoJ Press Office on telephone number 028 9052 6444.

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