Fewer young people sanctioned in 2015
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 291 900 penal sanctions were registered in 2015.1 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 8 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 sanction. 1960-2016
|Ticket fine and on the spot fine||On the spot fine||Ticket fine||Other types of sanctions|
Most sanctions decided by the prosecuting authority
Aside from on the spot fines, 77 900 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 28 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.
The prosecuting authority imposed 57 400 sanctions beside on the spot fines. Of these 53 900 was ticket fines and 3 500 was prosecution conditionally dropped. In the period 2006-2015, there has been a considerable increase in the use of prosecution dropped on conditions, and in 2015 the number was about 5 per cent higher than in 2014.
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.
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
|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
|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|
|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|
Fewer sanctioned persons
The decrease in sanctions for traffic offences was the main cause of 8 500 fewer persons being registered with one or more penal sanctions in 2015 than the year before. A total of 259 700 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 40 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
|Property theft||Violence and maltreatment||Drug and alcohol offences||Public order and integrity violations|
1 The numbers of prosecutions conditionally dropped in 2013-2015 were changed in StatBank and this article 1 June 2018. This resulted for example in the total number of sanctions being reduced by 40 in 2013, 1 935 in 2014 and 1 651 in 2015.