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Processed offences

1,490,000 offences were processed in Sweden in 2016, which represents a decrease of 22,000 processed offences by comparison with the figure for 2015. Of the investigated offences, 29% were person-based cleared during 2016, which represent a decrease of 2 percentages by comparison with 2015. Of the total number of processed offences during the year 13% were person-based cleared during 2016, which represent a decrease of 1 percentage by comparison with 2015.

In order to provide continuity with respect to key statistics, the person-based clearance rate is also reported in the statistics of processed offences. The statistic reports person-based clearances during the course of the year expressed as a percentage of processed offences during the same year. The processed offences thus describe the total outflow of crimes handled by the police, prosecutor or other investigative authority over the course of the year in which a decision has been taken. However, the offences may have been reported the same year or during a previous year. The statistics are broken down based upon investigated and uninvestigated offences. Investigated offences are processed offences where an investigation has been initiated and where a decision has been taken with respect to the offence during the reporting year. Investigation means preliminary investigation, simplified investigation, or an investigation under the Youthful Offenders Act. Uninvestigated offences are processed offences where a decision has been taken with respect to the offence during the course of the reporting year without a criminal investigation having been initiated.

The statistic presents two measures, the prosecution rate and the person-based clearance rate. The statistic can be primarily used as a rough indicator of the ability of the police and other criminal investigatory authorities, to prosecute crimes that have been investigated. The prosecution rate reports person-based clearances during the course of the year expressed as a percentage of investigated offences during the same period, removing, however, offences subject to investigation-limitation decisions during the year. The person-based clearance rate reports person-based clearances during the course of the year expressed as a percentage of processed offences during the same year.

Processed offences – broken down on the basis of investigated and uninvestigated offences

1,490,000 offences were processed in 2016. A majority (86%) of the processed offences were reported during the same year, while 12% of the offences were reported in 2015. The remaining offences were reported prior to this.

For 48% of the processed offences in 2015, an investigation had been carried out, while the other (52%) were uninvestigated. This represents a change compared to the previous year when the investigated offences accounted for 49% and uninvestigated offences for 51%.

Of the total number of processed offences during the year, 13% were person-based cleared while 4% where subject to investigation-limitation decisions. An investigation-limitation decision can occur both during the investigation or without any investigation having been initiated (the latter are commonly referred to as uninvestigated offences). Of the processed offences, there was a limited preliminary investigation of 85% (46,700) after an investigation had been commenced, and in 15% of the cases (8,140) no investigation had been commenced.

For the remaining processed offences, other types of decisions were taken; for example, amongst other processed offences which were investigated, there were offences for which the file was closed due to the fact that no investigation results had been achieved, or since it was concluded, after the investigation, that a crime had not been committed. Other processed offences which were uninvestigated also includes, for example, offences for which the matter was closed due to a lack of investigation data or due to the fact that the offence was committed abroad.

The figure below (click on the image to enlarge it) reports all processed offences broken down based on the processing categories ‘investigated’ and ‘uninvestigated offences’, and the decision types ‘person-based clearances’ and ‘offences with a limited preliminary investigation’.

All processed offences for 2016 broken down based on the processing categories ‘investigated’ and ‘uninvestigated’ offences, and the decision types ‘person-based clearances’ and ‘offences subject to investigation-limitation decisions’. The parenthesis in the figure presents the comparison with the result of 2015 in percentage point. Click or tap to enlarge.

Person-based clearances, prosecution rate, and person-based clearance rate

Person-based cleared offences are processed offences for which at least one suspect has been prosecuted through the commencement of a prosecution, the issuance of a summary sanction order or a waiver of prosecution. In 2016, person-based cleared offences were achieved for 194,000 offences.

In 2016, the prosecution rate was 29%, which is 2 percentage lower compared with the result of 2015. The prosecution rate reports the person-based clearances expressed as a percentage of all investigated offences, excluding offences subject to investigation-limitation decisions.

The person-based clearance rate was 13% in 2016, which is 1 percentage lower compared with the result of 2015. The person-based clearance rate reports the person-based cleared offences as a percentage of all investigated offences.

Prosecution-rate-for-2015

Prosecution rate 2014−2016 and trend in the person-based clearance rate for all crimes, 2007–2016. The change in the illustration of trend for person-based clearance is due to a revision of the statistic. Contact The Division for Crime Statistics for detailed information.

There are large differences in the prosecution rate and person-based clearance rate between various types of offences. To a certain extent, this is a consequence of the fact that the offences differ to varying degrees as to how difficult they are to clear. The table below sets forth first the levels for processed offences and investigated offences and the percentage of investigated offences out of the total number of processed offences. The number of person-based clearances and the person-based and prosecution rate for 2016 are then reported. The reporting is provided for all offences as well as for 7 broad categories of offences.

The patterns which can be noted in the table include that, for the categories of offences in which a low share of the processed offences are investigated, the difference between the prosecution rate and the person-based clearance rate is greater than for categories of offences in which a large portion of the processed offences are investigated. For example, for narcotics offences in which there is often a suspect and in almost all cases an investigation is carried out (98% of the offences 2016), there is a small difference between the prosecution rate and the person-based clearance rate as compared with other categories of offences.

Table: Overview of processed offences

Overview of processed offences, investigated offences, the share of investigated offences as a percentage of processed offences, and the number of person-based clearances, person-based clearance rate and prosecution rate, 2016. Click or tap to enlarge.

As an element of the work involved in adapting the products in the crime statistics to the target groups and ensuring the quality of these products, starting with the 2014 reporting year, Brå has publish new statistics regarding Processed Offences. The new statistics are a revision of the statistics for Cleared Offences thus replacing these statistics. The purpose of the statistics remains unchanged and, as was previously the case, is intended to provide an overall impression of the processing of crimes by the investigative authorities. The primary purpose of the revision is to increase the relevancy of the statistics and improve the reliability of the various categories and scales employed in the statistics. 

Commencing with the 2014 reporting year, the statistics cover all crimes for which a decision has been taken during the course of the year, instead of, as previously, where only a portion of the crimes in which a decision was taken were covered. The processed offences thus describe the total outflow of crimes handled by the police, prosecutor or other investigative authority over the course of the year in which a decision has been taken. However, the offences may have been reported the same year or during a previous year.

The revision introduces new, more reliable grounds for categorizing the offences in which a decision has been taken. Among other things, the statistics are broken down based upon investigated and uninvestigated offences. Investigated offences are processed offences where an investigation has been initiated and where a decision has been taken with respect to the offence during the reporting year. Investigation means preliminary investigation, simplified investigation, or an investigation under the Youthful Offenders Act. Uninvestigated offences are processed offences where a decision has been taken with respect to the offence during the course of the reporting year without a criminal investigation having been initiated.

With the revision, a new statistic is also launched – the prosecution rate– as a supplement to the person-based clearances rate. The prosecution rate reports person-based clearances during the course of the year expressed as a percentage of investigated offences during the same period, removing, however, offences subject to investigation-limitation decisions during the year. The statistic can be primarily used as a rough indicator of the ability of the police and other criminal investigatory authorities, to prosecute crimes that have been investigated.


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