Fewer young people sanctioned in 2015

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In 2015, there were 3 per cent fewer penal sanctions than in the previous year. The decrease in sanctions against young people continues, but persons aged between 15 and 24 are still overrepresented for many types of crimes.

In total 293 500 penal sanctions were registered in 2015. Of these 73 per cent are on the spot fines and 18 per cent ticket fines given by the prosecuting authority (including police and customs). The remaining 9 per cent are other types of sanctions, mainly sentenced by the courts.

The statistics are now classified according to the new standard for offences, and the number of sanctions from the courts is this year affected by the new sanctions register.

Fewer on the spot fines given in traffic

Of the 214 000 on the spot fines in 2015, about 92 per cent were given for road traffic offences, most often illegal speeding. The remaining 8 per cent were given for violations of the Customs Act.

There were 10 900 fewer on the spot fines in 2015 than the year before, and this is the lowest number since 2003. Because of the large share of on the spot fines, these contribute strongly to the total decrease by 3 per cent for all sanctions compared to 2014.

Figure 1. Sanctions by type of sanction¹. 1960-2015
Figure 1. Sanctions by type of sanction¹. 1960-2015
Ticket fine On the spot fine Ticket fine and on the spot fine Other types of sanctions
1960 48620 9674
1961 49106 10209
1962 54399 10454
1963 59297 10758
1964 53930 11846
1965 57539 11849
1966 61804 12141
1967 69057 12651
1968 67772 13347
1969 74832 15873
1970 73507 16545
1971 76381 18083
1972 83662 17571
1973 79347 18731
1974 64191 18706
1975 81448 17816
1976 89749 18583
1977 99527 18513
1978 101923 23504
1979 108489 23176
1980 114132 21412
1981 105071 21527
1982 116055 21798
1983 122572 22601
1984 121696 24626
1985 115502 23313
1986 134846 22335
1987 142119 18888
1988 156127 20240
1989 157020 21442
1990 164090 21609
1991 178440 19891
1992 190078 20602
1993 198066 20456
1994 184875 20209
1995 182161 19570
1996 179191 19943
1997 36084 159602 19479
1998 40656 158105 19377
1999 41284 153338 20448
2000 45485 142420 18462
2001 56639 158637 23964
2002 46942 139587 19459
2003 52587 181960 22499
2004 55376 225704 20961
2005 56457 233190 26542
2006 58603 263659 24620
2007 62917 269398 24834
2008 58053 256350 23953
2009 55393 234032 22856
2010 56257 253755 26021
2011 55525 237586 23790
2012 54606 240239 22177
2013 55385 228823 25168
2014 52868 224884 24894
2015 53922 213989 25590

Most sanctions decided by the prosecuting authority

Aside from on the spot fines, 79 500 other sanctions were registered in 2015. These sanctions include ticket fines, prosecution dropped, and conviction on fines, community sentence, conditional imprisonment, unconditional imprisonment and other less common types of sanctions.

The statistics on penal sanctions are for the years 2002-2015 now classified according to the new standard for offences, presented in the textbox below. According to this classification traffic offences and drug and alcohol offences are the largest groups of principal offences, concerning respectively 30 and 27 per cent of the sanctions in 2015, on the spot fines kept aside. Further, 14 per cent of these sanctions were given for public order and integrity violations and 10 per cent for property theft.

New statistics with new classification of offences 2002-2015

Statistics Norway now releases statistics by new Standard for types of offence. Types of offence 2015 is made as a consequence of the penal code of 2005, together with new police codes for registering offences, came into effect on 1 October 2015. The standard includes new groupings of both Type of offence and Group of offence, while Category of offences (crime and misdemeanour can not be continued after the statistics for 2014. For statistics on sanctions the new classification of offences is made available in the StatBank for all years back to 2002. An overview of old and new standard for classification of offences, with detailed listings of codes, can be found in Statistical Classifications and Codelists. See also definitions of offences in About the statistics.

The prosecuting authority imposed 59 000 sanctions beside on the spot fines. Of these 53 900 was ticket fines and 5 100 was prosecution conditionally dropped. In the period 2006-2014, there was a considerable increase in the use of prosecution dropped on conditions, but in 2015 the number was about the same as in 2014.

Figure 2

Figure 2. Sanctions except on the spot fine, by type of sanction and judicial authority. 2015

Imprisonment in eight out of ten court sentences

In 2015 almost 20 500 of the registered penal sanctions had been sentenced by a court, which is 4 per cent more than in the previous year. The courts had issued nearly 10 900 sentences on unconditional imprisonment and more than 5 700 on conditional imprisonment, somewhat more than the year before. However, the increase is probably caused by the transition to a new sanction register. According to Statistics Norway’s estimation there would instead have been a decrease in court sentences, as is accounted for in the textbox below.

More registrations in the new sanction register in 2015

Considerable more sanctions were registered during the last months of 2015 than earlier years as a consequence of the new sanction register from 1 October 2015. The estimated effect of this transfer indicates that about 2 800 more sanctions were registered in the new register during the last quarter of 2015, based on practice of registration in the period 2010-2015. The number is equivalent to about 1 per cent of all sanctions registered in 2015, and the effect is of relatively small importance for the statistics that include all types of sanctions.

However, this effect is of far more importance for some of the more specified parts of the statistics. Based on these estimates the 2015 statistics would have had 1 790 fewer sentences of unconditional imprisonment, 1 080 fewer sentences of conditional imprisonment and 270 fewer community sentences than registered this year, without this effect of the new register. In other words, the number of sentences of unconditional imprisonment would have been 16 per cent less, conditional imprisonment 19 per cent less and community sentences 13 per cent less in 2015. The impact on numbers of fines by court, ticket fines and on the spot fines is however of smaller or no importance.

The statistics with distribution of sanctions by groups of principal offence are also affected unevenly. Without the extra registrations, the number of sanctions within the group of Drug and alcohol offences would have been expected to be 5 per cent less (1 090 in number) in 2015, and the group of Property theft 4.5 per cent less (370 in number). This effect could also be of importance for the groups of Violence and maltreatment (3 per cent, 166 in numbers) and Other offences for profit (2 per cent, 460 in numbers), relative to the total scope and time perspective. However, it seems to have less or no influence of the groups of Criminal damage (2 per cent, 16 in numbers), Public order and integrity violations (1.5 per cent and 155 in numbers) and Traffic offences (0.3 per cent, 570 in numbers).

This effect is of approximately the same importance, in per cent and numbers, for the statistics of sanctioned persons distributed by groups of principal offence. An additional distribution by age gives the same effect, but is somewhat bigger for the age group 18-39 years over all, than older persons. Read more about the new sanction register in About the statistics.

The courts use of the different types of penal sanctions has been relatively stable the last three years, after a period of an increasing share of unconditional imprisonment – shown in Figure 3. Special sanctions are used against few offenders, and usually only in very serious cases. In 2015 there were registered 16 sentences to preventive detention, 19 to compulsory mental health, and none to compulsory care.

Figure 3. Sanctions sentenced by court of justice, by selected type of sanction
Figure 3. Sanctions sentenced by court of justice, by selected type of sanction
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Unconditional imprisonment 46.8 46.2 47.8 44.1 44.9 44.6 46.5 45.3 48.4 49.1 50.4 53.3 53.7 53.1
Conditional imprisonment 37.8 37.1 32.6 36.3 32.5 31.8 30.3 31.3 30.1 29.2 28.9 27.7 27.1 28.0
Fine 11.1 8.9 8.6 9.0 10.5 11.7 9.9 10.7 8.8 9.4 8.6 7.7 7.9 8.5
Community sentence 3.9 7.4 10.7 10.2 11.8 11.6 13.0 12.5 12.4 12.0 11.8 11.1 11.0 9.9
Special sanction or other type of sanction 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.3 0.5

Unconditional imprisonment most often for drug and alcohol offences

In 2015 more than 4 000 sentences to unconditional imprisonment were registered with a principal offence relating to drugs or alcohol, which is 37 per cent of all unconditional imprisonment sentences. Narcotic offences and driving under the influence make up for 51 and 48 per cent of these principal offences, respectively.

Violence and maltreatment is the second largest group of principal offence, with 21 per cent of the sentences to unconditional imprisonment in 2015. However, the number of registered sentences to unconditional imprisonment for violence and maltreatment are down 11 per cent from 2014.

Sexual offences are together with violence and maltreatment the two groups of principal offences that most often result in unconditional imprisonment when first given a penal sanction. This was the case for 46 per cent of the sexual offence sanctions and 40 per cent of the violence and maltreatment sanctions. However, the share varies considerably between types of sexual- and violence offence. For example, 22 of 24 sanctions for homicide registered in 2015 were unconditional imprisonment, the remaining 2 were compulsory mental health care.

Figure 4. Unconditional imprisonment, by group of principal offence
Figure 4. Unconditional imprisonment, by group of principal offence
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Drug and alcohol offences 34.9 35.6 33.7 32.4 32.3 33.6 34.9 35.0 34.2 35.9 34.0 35.4 35.7 37.0
Violence and maltreatment 21.1 21.5 20.9 22.2 23.3 22.7 21.7 23.0 24.0 23.2 24.6 23.7 24.6 21.4
Other offences for profit 12.0 10.2 11.7 13.5 13.9 13.6 13.3 11.5 11.0 11.3 11.6 11.2 11.4 13.4
Property theft 18.1 17.2 18.2 17.0 15.6 15.5 14.7 14.5 14.6 14.5 14.6 14.7 13.5 12.0
Public order and integrity violations 3.3 3.7 4.7 4.1 4.2 4.1 5.1 5.8 6.4 6.5 6.7 6.8 6.2 6.3
Traffic offences 7.1 7.8 6.7 6.4 5.9 6.2 6.2 6.3 5.2 4.5 4.1 3.9 4.3 5.7
Sexual offences 2.3 2.9 3.1 3.1 3.4 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.8 3.3 3.6 3.6 3.5 3.6
Criminal damage 0.7 0.8 0.6 0.6 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.3
Other offences 0.5 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2

Fewer sanctioned persons

The decrease in sanctions for traffic offences was the main cause of 8 700 fewer persons being registered with one or more penal sanctions in 2015 than the year before. A total of 260 900 sanctioned persons is the lowest number registered in this statistics, counting unique persons, going back to 2005.

In the statistics counting all types of sanctions it is the age group 40-49 years that has the highest rate of sanctioned per 1000 population. The share of traffic offences, such as speeding, is relatively higher for the older than the younger age groups, though.

Sharpest decrease for 18- to 20-year-olds

Taking account of the population growth, there has been a decrease in sanctioned persons for all age groups under 25 since 2007. This trend is further strengthened in 2015. In all years from 2005 to 2014, the age group 18-20 has had the highest rate of sanctioned persons, traffic offences excluded. But this is also the age group with largest relative decrease the last years, and in 2015 the share of sanctioned persons between 18 and 20 was about the same as for those between 21 and 24.

Penalisation of young people has changed much recent years. Of all registered sanctions against 15- to 17-year-olds almost 43 per cent was prosecution conditionally dropped, a share that has increased over several years. There were also registered 48 convictions on juvenile sanctions in 2015, the first whole year this type of punishment has been in use.

Different age distribution for different types of offences

People under 30 made up more than half of all persons sanctioned in 2015 with drug and alcohol offence or public order and integrity violations as the principal offence. However, for some of the underlying types of offences the age distribution of the sanctioned persons differs. Of those sanctioned for offences against the Act relating to medicinal goods (i.e. use and minor possessions of narcotics) 53 per cent were between 15 and 24 years old. In comparison, less than 15 per cent of persons convicted for aggravated narcotic offences are in this age group.

As shown in Figure 5, there is a more even distribution of persons sanctioned for theft and violence, although younger people also have the highest rates for these groups of principal offences.

Figure 5. Sanctioned persons, by selected age and group of principal offence. 2015
Figure 5. Sanctioned persons, by selected age and group of principal offence. 2015
Property theft Violence and maltreatment Drug and alcohol offences Public order and integrity violations
15 years 3.16 1.71 1.98 0.76
16 years 2.8 1.84 3.89 1.61
17 years 2.73 2.3 6.69 3.15
18 years 3.26 3.16 12.07 4.75
19 years 2.81 3.03 12.71 5.84
20 years 2.52 3.23 12.75 6.18
21 years 2.56 3.22 12.46 6.81
22 years 2.93 3.07 12.03 5.51
23 years 3.08 3.36 11.33 5.31
24 years 2.54 2.36 10.36 4.67
25 years 2.81 2.62 9.85 4.68
26 years 2.54 1.83 8.04 4.22
27 years 2.81 1.96 7.64 4.6
28 years 2.15 1.94 7.81 4.13
29 years 2.17 1.81 8.17 3.79
30 years 2.65 2.17 7.29 3.7
31 years 2.34 1.9 6.77 3.68
32 years 2.48 1.82 6.27 2.91
33 years 2.65 1.67 5.87 2.9
34 years 2.63 1.72 5.99 3.03
35 years 2.17 1.29 5.44 2.24
36 years 2.59 1.39 4.97 2.34
37 years 1.98 1.7 4.67 2.18
38 years 2.24 1.45 4.94 2.11
39 years 1.99 1.4 4.5 1.92
40 years 2.42 1.49 4.54 1.77
41 years 1.61 1.46 3.83 1.97
42 years 1.72 1.26 3.83 1.75
43 years 1.67 1.29 3.34 1.91
44 years 1.67 1.14 3.1 1.46
45 years 1.58 1.29 2.97 1.59
46 years 1.26 1.17 3.31 1.7
47 years 1.09 1.02 2.84 1.44
48 years 1.61 1.09 2.87 1.38
49 years 1.25 0.91 3.05 1.51
50 years 1.21 1.01 2.52 1.3
51 years 1.47 0.8 2.27 1.25
52 years 0.98 0.7 2.56 1.14
53 years 1.05 0.77 2.39 1.08
54 years 1.06 0.69 2.43 1.13
55 years 1.07 0.59 2.12 0.9
56 years 1.02 0.53 1.89 1.07
57 years 0.94 0.58 1.79 0.8
58 years 0.88 0.34 1.3 0.76
59 years 0.75 0.35 1.51 0.72

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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