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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-06332
Asked by: Ruth Maguire, Cunninghame South, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 8 February 2022

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what the key sources of data on prostitution offences are within the criminal justice system.

Current status: Answered by Ash Regan on 4 March 2022


Answer

The Scottish Government’s primary sources of data on prostitution offences within the criminal justice system are the annual National Statistics publications on Recorded Crime in Scotland and Criminal Proceedings in Scotland .

Recorded Crime in Scotland is based on a count of these crimes, reported to Police Scotland, and broken down by local authority. The most recent publication covers the 2020-21 financial year.

The Criminal Proceedings in Scotland publication provides statistics on individuals proceeded against in court (specifically their age and gender). Statistics are also available on the result of these proceedings and the subsequent disposal given if the individual was found to be guilty. The most recent publication covers the 2019-20 financial year.

For these statistical collections, prostitution offences fall under the category “Crimes associated with prostitution”, which is included in Sexual crimes. This category includes six specific crime types:

? Brothel keeping;

? Immoral traffic;

? Offences related to prostitution;

? Procuration (excluding homosexual acts);

? Procuration of homosexual acts; and

? Soliciting services of a person engaged in prostitution

Offences related to prostitution is defined in the Scottish Crime Recording Standard as, “A prostitute (whether male or female) who for the purposes of prostitution loiters in a public place; solicits in a public place or in any other place so as to be seen from a public place; or importunes any person who is in a public place.”

The publications described above provide statistics on the Crimes associated with prostitution group but do not routinely include separate figures on the six crime types listed above. However, this information is available on request.

As an example, below we show data from the last available five years for recorded crime (Table 1) and criminal proceedings (Tables 2-4, covering proceedings, convictions and conviction rates, respectively). Note: criminal proceedings data is only available up to 2019-20, whereas recorded crime is up to 2020-21.

Care should be taken when comparing these different data sources. For example, recorded crime statistics count crimes and offences at the time that they came to the attention of Police Scotland while criminal proceedings statistics report on cases which have concluded in court. This means that a crime may be recorded by the police in one year and court proceedings concluded in a subsequent year. In addition, a person may be proceeded against for more than one crime, or a set of crimes with more than one victim, in a proceeding, but only the main charge is counted in these court proceedings statistics. There is also the possibility that the crime recorded by the police may be altered in the course of judicial proceedings.

Table 1. Police recorded crimes associated with prostitution, Scotland, 2016-17 to 2020-21

Crime

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Brothel keeping

14

18

10

13

13

Immoral traffic

26

21

31

23

23

Offences related to prostitution

194

65

50

13

2

Procuration (excluding homosexual acts)

11

8

5

10

7

Procuration of homosexual acts

0

2

0

0

0

Soliciting services of a person engaged in prostitution

58

22

139

42

11

Total

303

136

235

101

56

Table 2. Number of people proceeded for crimes associated with prostitution where it is the main charge, Scotland, 2015-16 to 2019-20

Crime

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Brothel keeping

7

3

3

2

6

Immoral traffic

2

0

2

2

2

Offences related to prostitution

55

59

32

9

9

Procuration (excluding homosexual acts)

0

0

1

0

0

Procuration of homosexual acts

0

0

0

0

0

Soliciting services of a person engaged in prostitution

53

36

15

30

57

Total

117

98

53

43

74

Table 3. Number of people convicted for crimes associated with prostitution where it is the main charge, Scotland, 2015-16 to 2019-20

Crime

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Brothel keeping

5

1

1

2

1

Immoral traffic

1

0

2

1

1

Offences related to prostitution

49

58

30

8

5

Procuration (excluding homosexual acts)

0

0

1

0

0

Procuration of homosexual acts

0

0

0

0

0

Soliciting services of a person engaged in prostitution

31

25

13

26

38

Total

86

84

47

37

45

Table 4. Conviction rate for crimes associated with prostitution where it is the main charge, Scotland, 2015-16 to 2019-20

Crime

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Brothel keeping

71%

33%

33%

100%

17%

Immoral traffic

50%

0%

100%

50%

50%

Offences related to prostitution

89%

98%

94%

89%

56%

Procuration (excluding homosexual acts)

0%

0%

100%

0%

0%

Procuration of homosexual acts

0%

0%

0%

0%

0%

Soliciting services of a person engaged in prostitution

58%

69%

87%

87%

67%

Total

74%

86%

89%

86%

61%