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Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 10 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were sentenced for failure to answer bail in 2008; and what the average (a) fine and (b) custodial sentence imposed for such offences was in that period. (316324)

Data held centrally on sentencing show only the sentencing of principal offences. Failure to appear may be sentenced as a principal offence but can be sentenced with other more serious offences. In such cases the sentence given for failure to appear is not recorded centrally. There were 17,351 cases where a sentence for failure to appear is recorded for 2008. Of these 7,527 received fines and the average fine was £68.52. A further 2,347 received immediate custody and the average sentence length was 25 days.

The requested information is shown in the following table.

The data are presented on the principal offence basis. Where an offender has been sentenced for more than one offence the principal offence is the one for which the heaviest sentence was imposed. Where the same sentence has been imposed for two or more offences the principal offence is the one for which the statutory maximum is most severe.

Total sentenced, average fine and average custodial sentence length for failure to answer bail1, 2008


Total sentenced


Average fine (£)


Average custodial sentence length (days)


Absolute discharge


Conditional discharge




Community sentence


Suspended Sentence Order


Immediate custody


Otherwise dealt with


1 Bail Act 1976 S.6


1. These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems.

2. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system