To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will give any consideration to extending the range of disposals available to district courts in order to include community service orders.
District courts deal with relatively minor offences and therefore have limited sentencing powers in respect of custody. In the year 2001, only 1% of all cases dealt with by district courts resulted in a custodial sentence. Community Service Orders are, however, defined by statute as a direct alternative to custody. These factors indicate that Community Service Orders would not be a suitable penalty in the vast majority of cases handled by district courts and that any such extension might put offenders convicted of relatively minor offences at risk of custody. The Scottish Executive therefore considers that it would be inappropriate to make Community Service Orders available to the district court.