Nearly all sanctions are fines
In 2018, the overall decline in sanctions continued, but was less marked than in recent years. Various types of fines continue to dominate the statistics, either individually or in combination with other types of sanctions, and fines make up about 95 per cent of all sanctions.
In total, 270 300 sanctions were registered in 2018, according to new figures from the statistics on Sanctions. This is a decline of 2.5 per cent from the year before, thus furthering the trend of an annual decline in the number of sanctions. Furthermore, 244 000 persons were given at least one of these sanctions. One out of ten sanctioned persons were given two or more sanctions during the year.
Three out of four sanctions were on the spot fines
In 2018, the police issued 187 700 on the spot fines for violations of the Road Traffic Act, mainly for minor speeding violations. The Norwegian Customs authority issued a total of 18 300 on the spot fines for minor smuggling. Furthermore, 47 400 sanctions were settled by the prosecution authority through either a ticket fine or with the prosecution being conditionally dropped, which represents a combined drop of 5 per cent from the year before. The most common principal offence for these sanctions is traffic offences, as well as drug and alcohol offences and public order and integrity violations.
Among the sanctions registered in 2018, 16 900 were settled in the courts. This is 4.3 per cent less than the year before and 34 per cent less than the peak year of 2005. If we factor in population growth, this is the lowest figure for registered sanctions since the 1960s. Among in-court sanctions, drug and alcohol offences (including driving under the influence) are dominant, followed by violence and maltreatment as the second most prominent group of principal offence.
Figure 1. Sanctions by type of sanction and sentencing
|On the spot fine||Ticket fine||Sentence with fine||Sentence without fine||Prosecution conditionally dropped|
Fines common also among in-court sanctions
Among the 2018 in-court sanctions, 44 per cent – 7 400 sanctions – involved fines, most often in combination with another type of sanction. Confiscations and claims for damages/restitution come in addition to the sanctioned fines.
In 2018, the total number of fines amounted to NOK 1.2 billion, which is 6.2 per cent less than the year before, and about level with the previous ten-year average. On the spot fines were issued at an average of NOK 3 400. Ticket fines, including 500 ticket fines given to enterprises, made up an average of NOK 8 000, while in-court fines averaged NOK 19 900.
Many sanctions are made conditional
If we view in-court sanctions together with the conditional dropping of prosecution, the conditional or partly conditional sanctions make up 45 per cent of the sanctions in 2018, as shown in figure 2. However, conditional imprisonment is most often given in combination with other sanctions. Thus, conditional imprisonment as the only sanction is given in just 1 460 legally binding sentences.
Figure 2. Sanctions by sentence and prosecution conditionally dropped, by type of sanction
|Fine, special sanction or other type of sanction||2265||2287||2125||2051||1755||1743||1612||1827||1905||1771||1622|
|Unconditional imprisonment (excl. In combination with conditional imprisonment)||8325||7717||9110||8261||7947||9385||8435||8419||8557||8099||7960|
|Unconditional and conditional imprisonment||2028||1754||2224||2080||2046||2291||2120||2449||1999||1117||925|
|Conditional imprisonment and fine||5032||4753||5129||4361||4004||4217||3765||4025||3790||3393||3131|
|Conditional imprisonment only||1716||1783||1922||1800||1727||1857||1569||1710||1684||1439||1459|
|Prosecution conditionally dropped||1706||1959||2615||2716||2349||3208||3303||3477||3261||3675||3992|
As illustrated in figure 2, the last two years have seen fewer conditional sanctions than in previous years, mostly due to fewer combination sanctions. Prosecution conditionally dropped and sanctions with conditional imprisonment only have seen a combined increase of 60 per cent since 2008 – due to more prosecutions being conditionally dropped. In 2018, the 4 000 prosecutions conditionally dropped, mainly for adolescent perpetrators, is 8.6 per cent more than the year before and more than double the number in 2008. Thus, the changes in the use of conditional sanctions should be seen in relation to changes in the types of sanctions given to adolescents.
Fewer unconditional prison sentences
In 2018, a total of 8 900 legally binding sentences of unconditional imprisonment were registered, which is a further decline of 3.6 per cent from the year before. The biggest decline is seen among sentences between 6 and 11 months, which has dropped 13 per cent from 2017. In 2018, the long-running trend of fewer short and more long unconditional sentences continues, with an 8.6 per cent increase in sentences of 5 years or more of unconditional imprisonment.
The special sanctions registered in 2018 included 21 preventive detentions and 40 compulsory mental health care sentences. Compared to the year before, this is on a par with preventive detention, while compulsory mental health care has shown a continued increase from the record high of 31 such sentences in 2017.
Continued decline for many types of offences
Over time, the changes in the number of sanctions and the types of sanctions given must be seen in relation to changes in offences reported to the police, and to which degree these offences are solved by police and the prosecution authority. During the last decade, a downward trend has been seen for many types of offences, including commonly registered offences such as traffic offences, narcotic offences and theft. As shown in figure 3, this trend continues in 2018.
Figure 3. Sanctions except on the spot fine, by group of principal offence
|Other offences for profit||6462||5686||6141||6053||5954||5903||5407||5699||5056||4208||3797|
|Violence and maltreatment||6278||5961||6591||5867||5760||5998||5790||5691||5881||5462||5479|
|Drug and alcohol offences||18989||18049||20288||20368||19505||22438||21097||21682||19960||17644||16505|
|Public order and integrity violations||11133||10001||10682||11770||11679||11476||10762||11030||9672||9007||8504|
As registered in 2017, the exceptions from the general decline mainly concern some of the most severe offences such as rape, aggravated types of violence and aggravated fraud. More convictions for possessing or distributing sexualised images of children account for a significant share of the overall 12 per cent increase in sanctions for sexual offences in 2018.