An offender may be proceeded against more than once by police during the reference period. Police proceedings represent a count for each separate occasion on which 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 The proceeding may be withdrawn or changed from a court to a non-court action at a later stage of the investigation.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.
The following analysis on police poceedings is based on the aggregate data for all jurisdictions, except Western Australia. National data are not available for police proceedings counts. For more information see Explanatory Notes paragraph 44.
Excluding Western Australia, there were 442,272 police-initiated proceedings during 2008-09, an increase of 6% (23,156) from 2007-08. The majority (71%) of proceedings related to police-initiated court actions against offenders during 2008-09, however there was an increase in the proportion of police proceedings that were non-court actions from 27% in 2007-08 to 30% in 2008-09.
Combined selected states and territories by selected principal offence(a)(b)