We are seeking feedback from users on this data publication to help us shape future data publications. Please give us your feedback either via the short user survey (open until 17 March 2021) or by email at: research@sentencingcouncil.gov.uk. This background note explains what is in the data and why we are doing the survey.

This targeted data collection ran in two waves either side of the publication and launch of the Theft from a shop or stall definitive guideline.

The pre-guideline data collection ran between 16 November 2015 and 5 February 2016, and the post-guideline stage ran between 19 September and 16 December 2016. Paper forms were sent to sample of 81 magistrates’ courts for district judges and magistrates to populate. These forms can be viewed below.

The datasets contain information on the culpability and harm factors taken into account by sentencers, details of any aggravating or mitigating factors (including previous convictions), information about the guilty plea where relevant, including the reductions applied, and details of the final sentence imposed. They also contain information on the single most important factor affecting the sentence, which magistrates and district judges were also asked to record.

This publication contains a cleaned and disclosure control-checked version of the data that was collected. The pre- and post-guideline datasets are published individually and there are supplementary linked datasets for both stages containing details on the single most important factor that sentencers indicated was central to their sentencing decision.

There is no discussion of trends and narrative included in this publication as this data was already analysed in the theft offences guideline assessment, which was published in February 2019. However, there are several documents published alongside the datasets to support their comprehension.

Documents contained in this publication:

Background Quality Report

Main datasets:

Additional variable “single most important factor” datasets:

Disclosure statement
Gathering user feedback
Pre-guideline data form
Post-guideline data form

If you require any of these documents in an alternative format, please contact research@sentencingcouncil.gov.uk