The data measures the number of defendants found guilty within a given year for a certain offence, as a percentage of all defendants who were prosecuted that year for the same offence. This is referred to as the 'conviction ratio'.
The data is broken down by the ethnic group, sex and age group of the defendant.
Where an offender was found guilty of more than one offence, the data includes the offence for which they were given the heaviest penalty. If they were given the same penalty for more than one offence, the data includes the offence with the heaviest statutory maximum penalty. Where more than one sentence is given for an offence, the most serious sentence is included in the data.
There are 3 broad types of offence:
- indictable-only offences, such as murder or rape, which can only be heard in the Crown Court
- offences that are triable either way, which means they can be heard in either a magistrates’ court or in the Crown Court, and include offences like theft from shops and handling stolen goods
- summary offences, such as speeding and TV licence evasion, which are heard in a magistrates’ court
This data only shows indictable only offences and offences that are triable either way (also called ‘either way’ offences).
Nearly all criminal cases start in the magistrates’ courts. Prosecutions for indictable-only offences, and for ‘either way’ offences where the defendant has chosen to have a jury trial or where the magistrates feel the case is of sufficient seriousness, are passed from there to the Crown Court.