Outcomes For Criminal Offences

When someone is charged with a criminal offence, the consequences are often far-reaching. A conviction can lead to jail/prison time, a fine, loss of a driver’s license or professional licence, and court-ordered probation or community service. It can also affect the offender’s ability to find work, be admitted to university or to apply for government benefits. The social stigma associated with a criminal conviction can be difficult to overcome and, for many people, the prospect of being convicted is enough to discourage them from reporting an offence.

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The outcomes for criminal offences is complex, and it is not always possible for all offences to be resolved. Some offences must be dealt with as indictable in the Crown Court, while others can be prosecuted summarily in the Magistrates’ Court. In addition, some offences are treated as hybrid offences, meaning that the Crown prosecutor may choose whether to proceed with an indictable or summary conviction prosecution.

As a result of these factors, some investigations will not result in an outcome and are not included in this report. Police forces will submit revised data to the Home Office as they conclude their investigations and this information will be reflected in subsequent releases.

Other reasons for not approving/laying charges include a lack of evidence or the victim’s decision not to participate in proceedings. Sometimes, a prosecutor will agree to a nolle prosequi, or dismiss the case without prejudice, meaning that the Crown could file charges again at a later date.