Fewer sanctioned, but more for narcotics
Social conditions, welfare and crime;Immigration and immigrants;Svalbard
straff, Penal sanctions, crime, criminal cases, type of sanction (for example incarceration, community service, fine), punishment (for example amount of fine, length of prison sentence), sanctioned, judicial authority, offence groups (for example violence, drugs, crimes for profit), types of offence (for example theft, murder, rape)Social conditions, welfare and crime, Social conditions, welfare and crime, Crime and justice, Social conditions, welfare and crime, Immigration and immigrants, Svalbard

Penal sanctions2011




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Fewer sanctioned, but more for narcotics

In 2011, nearly 317 000 sanctions were registered and more than 278 000 persons were sanctioned, representing a 5.7 and 4.9 per cent decrease respectively from the year before. Nine out of ten persons were sanctioned solely for misdemeanours, and the 28 100 persons sanctioned for crimes is approximately the same number as in 2010.

Following the relatively high number of sanctions registered in 2010, 2011 saw a decrease in the number of registered sanctions, thus making 2011 similar to the 2009 level. However, in relation to the population growth, 2011 represents the lowest level of sanctions since 2003.

The total number of sanctions is predominantly constituted by 284 000 cases of misdemeanours, although the number for 2011 has been reduced by 6.2 per cent compared to 2010. Almost 246 000 of these are traffic misdemeanours, of which 98 per cent were sanctioned by fines - i.e. on the spot fine, ticket fine, or fine.

Sanctions, by category of offence. 1960-2011. Numbers

Sanctions in crime cases, by group of crime. 1998-2011. Numbers

The same number of crime cases ...

In 2011, there were 33 200 sanctions in crime cases - the most serious offences. This is approximately the same number of sanctions as in 2010 and almost 12 per cent more than in 2009.

However, the numbers of sanctions given with offences of violence or offences of profit as the principal offence were reduced by 9 and almost 12 per cent 1 respectively compared to the year before, thereby equalling the 2009 level. Sexual offences were registered as the principal offence in less than 3 per cent of all criminal cases, while the 955 sanctions in 2011 represent an increase of more than 40 per cent compared to 2008. This particular increase can almost fully be ascribed to the continued increase in sanctions given for purchasing sexual activity or a sexual act. This legislation was widened in 2009, and in 2011, 261 sanctions were registered with the purchase of sexual activity or a sexual act as the principal offence.

... but a further increase in sanctions for narcotics

The principal offence in nearly 15 700 sanctions in 2011 was a narcotics offence. This constitutes just over 5 per cent more than the year before, and as much as 22 per cent more than in 2009. Never before has there been registered as many sanctions with narcotics offences as the principal offence, and these offences represented over 47 per cent of all sanctions given in crime cases in 2011. However, with the growth in population taken into account, the volume of sanctions given for narcotics offences still falls short of the peak year of 2001.

In 2011, 816 sanctions were given for the most serious crimes of narcotics as the principal offence, representing the highest number of sanctions registered historically. However, the less serious narcotics offences, i.e. use of narcotics and possession of minor quantities of narcotics, were far more predominant in relation to the 2010-2011 increase in the total number of sanctions given for narcotics offences. Read more about the developments of crime levels in Offences reported to the police .

Sanctions, by selected types of sanctions. 1998-2011. Numbers

Sanctioned, by place of residence (county). 2011. Per 1 000 population 15 years and over

Historically few sanctions for driving under the influence

Even if sanctions for traffic misdemeanours nearly always entail a fine, traffic misdemeanours also result in a considerable number of imprisonments in Norway (see also Imprisonments ). In 2011, a traffic misdemeanour was the principal offence in 21 per cent of all sentences with unconditional imprisonment. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs was the principal reason in the majority of these cases.

In comparison with the previous year, the number of sanctions regarding traffic misdemeanours in general, and driving under the influence in particular, showed a considerable decline. In 2011, there were slightly more than 3 800 sanctions with driving under the influence as the principal offence, and in the comparable statistics dating back to 1993, no single year shows such a low number.

Fewer sanctions imposed by the courts

In total, the courts imposed 21 100 sanctions in 2011, which is 9 per cent less than the annual average in the period 2005-2010. Compared with the average in the preceding six years, the courts in general determined fewer of all types of criminal cases, except for various types of narcotics offences as the obvious exception. The reduction in the number of conditional imprisonments and the increase in prosecution conditionally dropped are trends from around 2005 that were continued in 2011.

Additionally, there were almost 9 per cent fewer sanctions with unconditional imprisonments in 2011 compared to 2010. The reduced amount of imprisonments with traffic offences as the principal offence constituted one third of this decline. Furthermore, there were considerably fewer imprisonments for a number of various types of larceny, offences of violence and sexual crimes. However, the more than 10 300 unconditional imprisonments in 2011 is equal to the number in 2008 and the annual average in the years from 2001 to 2010.

Some people given more than one sanction

In 2011, 11.4 per cent of persons sanctioned were subject to more than one sanction, and sanctions were imposed on the younger generation more frequently than older people. More than 13 per cent of all sanctioned men had two or more sanctions, among sanctioned women the share was less than 7 per cent.

Sanctioned for crimes, by place of residence (county). 2011. Per 1 000 population 15 years and over

Sanctioned for crimes, by sex and age. 2011. Per 1 000 population

Highest number sanctioned in the Agder counties

For those with a known place of residence, almost 96 per cent of those sanctioned resided in Norway in 2011. Of that, 6.5 per cent of the population aged 15 years or older are registered as sanctioned for one or more offence in 2011. By comparison, the proportion in 2010 was 7 per cent. However, the share of sanctioned people varies considerably among different counties and various categories of offence.

Among people residing in Vestfold, almost 9 per cent were registered as sanctioned, while the corresponding proportion among those residing in the counties of Sogn og Fjordane and Oslo constituted almost one out of twenty. Aust- and Vest-Agder had the largest proportion of sanctioned persons in 2010, however both of these counties had a considerable decrease of 23 per cent in 2011. Also among residents in Oslo there was a distinct 16 per cent reduction in 2011.

About 90 per cent of all those sanctioned represent persons solely sanctioned for misdemeanours. For those sanctioned for crimes, the geographical distribution varies. Aust-Agder and Finnmark counties had the highest share of people sanctioned for crime in 2011, with nearly 9 sanctioned per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15 years and over. The corresponding proportion was less than 5 per 1 000 inhabitants in Sogn og Fjordane and Møre og Romsdal counties. Compared with the previous year, Vest-Agder had the most significant decrease by a wide margin, with as much as 22 per cent. Also Telemark, Troms and Nord-Trøndelag had a considerable decrease in the share of those sanctioned for crimes.

Sanctioned, by category of offence, group of principal offence and sex. 2011. Per cent

Many young men

About 10 per cent of the punishable male population in Norway was registered for one offence or more in 2011. The corresponding proportion for women residing in Norway was somewhat more than 3 per cent. Most of them, particularly the women, have committed less serious offences. For instance, only 1.1 per cent of men and 0.2 per cent of women residing in Norway were registered as sanctioned for one or more offence in 2011.

Young men are clearly overrepresented in the crime statistics on sanctions, where men aged 19-22 years represent the largest proportion - more than 3 per cent. Out of all men sanctioned for crimes, 54 per cent were in the 17-30 year age interval (for persons under the age of 15 years charged for offences, see Offences investigated ).

Of the total number of those sanctioned where the gender is known in 2010, 24 per cent were women, while the proportion was less than 16 per cent in crime cases. We find the largest proportion of women sanctioned for offences for profit (27 per cent), traffic offences (25 per cent) and narcotics offences (17 per cent); the same shares as in 2010. On the other hand, men are overrepresented for violence and sexual offences and property damage as principal offences.


Published tables  

1 The figure was corrected on 16 April 2013.