This chapter presents statistics about police proceedings during the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011, for all states and territories, except Western Australia. These statistics describe the number of separate occasions in which an offender has legal action initiated against them by police. Data relating to police proceedings include the total number of proceedings by principal offence and the number of police-initiated court actions and non-court actions against offenders during the reference period.
Each proceeding is classified to a principal offence and principal method of proceeding. These data provide a count of police initiated legal proceedings, not a count of offences or a count of unique offenders. For more information about unique offenders refer to Chapter 2 - Summary, Australia and Chapter 3 - Summary, States and territories.
An offender may be proceeded against more than once by police during the reference period. Police proceedings represent a count of each separate occasion police initiate a legal action against an offender. Depending on the type of offence committed, police will either initiate a court or non-court action.
Court actions largely comprise the laying of charges against an alleged offender that must be answered in court. Offenders may be taken into custody, granted bail or issued with a summons for these charges pending an appearance in court. It should be noted that not all court proceedings initiated by police will proceed to a criminal court. The proceeding may be withdrawn or changed from a court to a non-court action at a later stage of the investigation.
Non-court actions comprise legal actions such as informal or formal cautions/warnings, conferencing, counselling such as drug diversionary schemes, or the issuing of penalty or infringement notices, which do not require an appearance at court.
South Australia's data are overstated for Illicit drug offences, and to a lesser extent for Public order offences and Offences against justice. Details of offenders who receive a Cannabis Infringement Notice or a General Infringement Notice cannot be linked to details for any other offences, resulting in some offenders being counted more than once. Caution should therefore be exercised with data from South Australia. For further information refer to paragraphs 54-55 of the Explanatory Notes.
Police proceedings data are not published for Western Australia due to data quality concerns surrounding overestimates in police proceedings. Western Australia Police utilise two separate offender recording systems and while data is successfully matched between systems for offender counts and associated demographic details, data for police proceedings between the two systems cannot be matched. This results in an overestimate of the number of police proceedings. For further information refer to paragraphs 56-57 of the Explanatory Notes.
Certain offences are excluded from the Recorded Crime - Offenders collection. For further information about the scope and counting methodology for the collection refer to paragraphs 3-6 and 8-16 of the Explanatory Notes.