Just 5 prosecutions over Scotland's Census

The Crown Office says that it has brought proceedings against just 5 people for not complying with Scotland's 2011 census. One person, whose identity is unknown, has been convicted. One case has ended without a conviction. Three cases are still going through the courts. One of them involves Barbara Dowling, of Glasgow and one involves Mary Reid, of Falkirk. A third person, whose identity is unknown, is being prosecuted in Greenock.

The number of people who didn't return census forms, or returned incomplete census forms, is sure to be far higher than this. In the last census, in 2001, over 200,000 people were estimated to have been missed.

SACC opposed the involvement of defence contractor CACI in the census and encouraged people to protest by withholding co-operation from the census. SACC is now calling for all census prosecutions to be dropped. CACI is implicated in torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Richard Haley, Chair of SACC, said:

"I hope that the tiny number of prosecutions in Scotland is a sign that the Register Office is embarrassed at having contracted census work to a company involved in human rights abuses. These five people have been picked out of thousands to save the Register Office's face. It's completely unjust that they should be scape-goated in this arbitrary way.

"The single person so far convicted might have grounds for appeal based on the arbitrary way that that the Census Act is being enforced in Scotland.

"It can't possibly serve the public interest for the Crown Office to continue with the three cases currently before the courts. It should drop the charges."

Notes

The statistics on prosecutions were provided by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in response to a Freedom of Information request. The figures are as follows, and cover the whole of Scotland, to 2 Feb 2012:

Number of persons reported [on suspicion of offence under the Census Act in connection with Scotland's 2011 census:
Falkirk: 1
Glasgow: 2
Greenock: 2

Number of persons convicted]:
Glasgow: 1

Number of persons not convicted:
Greenock: 1

Number of persons currently being prosecuted/tried:
Falkirk: 1
Glasgow:
1Greenock: 1