Theft and drugs data collection marks a fresh approach to developing our guidelines
By Lauren Bowes, Senior Researcher
This month we began a targeted assessment of the impact and implementation of our theft and drugs guidelines, following the decision earlier this year to end the Crown Court Sentencing Survey (CCSS). The aim of this approach is to carry out focussed, “guideline-specific” data collection in both magistrates’ courts and Crown Courts. This approach enables us to delve deeper into offence-specific research questions and broaden our data collection coverage to magistrates’ courts for the first time. The research will be used for future guideline development as well as for assessing the impact and implementation of our guidelines.
Our data collection for the theft and drugs guidelines began on Monday 16th November, across 81 selected magistrates’ courts in England and Wales. Magistrates and district judges in each court have been asked to complete a data collection form for each theft from a shop or stall and for selected drug production and possession offences they sentence, where the theft or drug offence is the principal offence. This stage of data collection will end on 29th January 2016. We plan to collect data on shop theft in two stages so that we can see what, if any effect, the guideline has on sentencing outcomes.
The first two weeks of data collection are now complete and we would like to say a huge thank you to all of the magistrates, district judges, and court staff that are involved. Once we’ve finished the assessment, a report containing the key findings will be published on this site. We will keep you updated on the progress of this and similar pieces of work.