The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published the Research and Statistical Bulletin ‘First Time Entrants to the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland 2019/20’. 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 2019/20. The key findings were as follows:
- In 2019/20, a total of 29,093 offences were recorded as dealt with by conviction or diversion in the justice system in Northern Ireland. Of these, 7,805 (26.8%) were first offences and 21,288 were further offences. The proportion of offences in 2018/19 which were first offences was 27.2%.
- Of first offences, 28.8% (2,244) were dealt with by way of formal diversionary disposal, compared to 71.2% (5,561) which were dealt with by conviction.
AGE GROUP and GENDER
- Of all first time entrants to the criminal justice system in 2019/20, 9.1% (710) were in the 10 – 17 year old age group and 26.6% (2,073) were in the 18 – 24 year old age group.
- First offences accounted for 54.3% (2,244) of all instances where a diversionary disposal was issued in 2019/20. Those in the 10 – 17 year old age group were most likely (87.5%, 621 out of 710) to receive a diversion for a first offence.
- Of all offences dealt with by conviction or diversion, 23.5% (5,524) by males were first offences, compared to 40.9% (2,281) by females.
OFFENCE TYPE and DISPOSALS RECEIVED
- Over half, 55.2% (4,309) of all first offences in 2019/20 were motoring offences. Of all instances where a conviction or diversion was issued for offences in that category in 2019/20, 38.1% were for first offences.
- Monetary disposals made up 56.6% (4,416) of all disposals for first offences in 2019/20. First offences accounted for 33.0% 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 2019/20, first offences accounted for only 6.2% (202 out of 3,277).
- 54.3% (2,244) of all cases dealt with by diversion were for first offences. Of first offences dealt with by diversion, 74.7% (1,677) were dealt with by way of caution. However, while 53.4% of all cautions were for first offences, 90.4% (291) of all informed warnings issued were for first offences.
 Figures for Males also include organisations, transgender and gender not specified.
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 2019/20.
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 2020/21 year will be published in summer 2022.
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.
5. The bulletin will be available in PDF format from either the Statistics and Research section of this website or Analytical Services Group, Financial Services Division, Block B, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3SG
6. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Press queries about this publication should be directed to the DoJ Press Office via email to email@example.com
8. 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.
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