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Crimes of Violence

Volume 492: debated on Wednesday 20 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many convictions for violent crime offences there were in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years; what the average sentence handed down for such offences was in each of those years; and how many of those so sentenced received the maximum possible sentence in each year. (276116)

The following table gives the number of convictions, the number sentenced to immediate custody, the average custodial sentence length (in months) and the number given the maximum sentence for violent offences.

Violent offences include the offence classifications of violence against the person, sexual offences and robbery. When sentencing convicted offenders, judges and magistrates take account of the characteristics of the offender including age, previous convictions and characteristics in terms of seriousness and the degree of culpability.

Data cover the calendar years 2004 to 2006 (the latest available years) and are collated on the principal offence rule; only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Number convicted of violent offences (violence against the person, sexual and robbery offences), number sentenced to immediate custody, the average custodial sentence length (in months) and number given the maximum sentence 2004-06

2004

2005

2006

Number convicted

2,308

2,280

2,606

Number sentenced to immediate custody1

510

517

648

Average custodial sentence length (in months)2

25

26

26

Number given the maximum sentence

16

17

15

1 The number sentenced to immediate custody includes those given life imprisonment or a juvenile justice centre order.

2 The average custodial sentence lengths exclude life sentences and juvenile justice centre orders.