Half of the Glasgow Sheriff Court cases exclusively covered by this paper since 2021 directly reference the accused drinking alcohol.

A study of 636 court stories spanning the last three years revealed the startling statistic.

Journalists at the Glasgow Times routinely attend hearings at the Carlton Place building, believed to be the busiest in Europe.


Today we launch a new Glasgow Times Investigates looking at the relationship between offending and alcohol in the city. Our first article, link in bio.

♬ original sound - Glasgow Times

Analysis of the sample revealed 308 cases directly referenced the offender "being under the influence", "drinking", "being drunk", "having drank", "consuming alcohol" or "being intoxicated" at the time the crime was committed.

This makes up 48.4% of the stories examined and is more than double the 145 (22.7%), mentioning "drugs", "cannabis", "Valium", "heroin" or "cocaine".

On the back of this research, we are launching an investigation into how much alcohol is a factor in crime in the city.

Over the next few weeks, we will be speaking to legal experts, addiction workers, people in recovery and more to examine this issue.

Consuming alcohol often comes up in the narration - where the background to the alleged crime is established - such as "police noted a strong smell of alcohol" or "the accused appeared drunk and slurring his speech".

It is also common for solicitors to refer to their clients' addiction when speaking in their defence.

The court often hears "they were heavily intoxicated" or "alcohol was a factor in the offence". These facts are heard by the sheriff.

If the offender has alcohol dependency, which caused them to commit the crime, they could be referred to the Alcohol Court.

Glasgow Times:

READ NEXT: 'They treat us like human beings': Prisoners praise recovery cafe

A solicitor, who has been representing people at Glasgow Sheriff Court for 20 years, said he “very often” deals with offenders who were intoxicated at the time of their arrest.

He added: “It’s a relatively significant part of people’s offending, whether it’s a long-term addiction or somebody who has drunk in excess on a night out and impacted their behaviour.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the majority of cases but it’s not inconsequential.”

The lawyer, who asked to remain anonymous, explained the differences he noticed in the justice system throughout his career.

He said: “The system is always trying to evolve and improve.

“It changes to support a certain type of offending behaviour.

“For a number of years in Glasgow, we have had the drug court, where people appear with drug addictions.

“Recently, they have now introduced the alcohol court, designed to support offenders who have issues with alcohol.

“So, there are steps now being taken to help offenders with this problem in their lives.

“It’s a good thing. From my perspective, this has certainly supported people with these issues.”

MORE INVESTIGATIONS: Worst area for pothole damage claims in Glasgow revealed

Pothole claims rocket in Glasgow but few are paid out on

Setting up a fair system to address crime affected by harmful or hazardous drinking, however, is a challenge due to the highly personalised nature of the issue.

The solicitor added: "It's very hard to generalise.

"There are lots of people who are very open to me about their difficulties but others are less so.

"Every case and every person is different.

"Some people are more honest than others about the issues they encounter.

"And this also goes back to how we approach each case."

Alcohol is a significant factor in violent crime across the whole of Scotland.

According to the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, in 2021/22 almost four in ten victims of violent crime believed the perpetrator was under the influence of alcohol.

The official government study found 37% thought that to be the case, where they were able to say something about the person.

For the most serious crimes of violence, it appears to be even more of an issue.

The most recent statistics, looking back over the last ten years (2013/14 to 2022/23), in the cases where the alcohol status was known about the accused, around three-quarters were intoxicated.

In most cases, 51%, the status was unknown, but for the remaining 49%, which was 367 people, more than half were under the influence of alcohol.

178 (49%) were intoxicated and 103 (28%) were under the influence of alcohol and drugs, 28%.

There were 28% which was 103 under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

If you have a story relating to this, get in touch via news@glasgowtimes.co.uk.

Tomorrow, shocking statistics reveal the link between alcohol and hate crime as Glasgow charity launches new campaign.