Revised Burglary Guidelines consultation

Closed 1 Sep 2021

Opened 9 Jun 2021


What is the Sentencing Council?

The Sentencing Council is the independent body responsible for developing sentencing guidelines which courts in England and Wales must follow when passing a sentence. The Council consults on proposed guidelines before they come into force and makes changes to the guidelines as a result of consultations.

Why Burglary offences?

The Sentencing Council’s Burglary Offences Definitive Guideline was the second guideline developed by the Council and came into force in 2012. It includes guidelines for sentencing aggravated burglary (section 10, Theft Act 1968), domestic and non-domestic burglary, (both section 9, Theft Act 1968). 

An initial evaluation  of the guideline was published in January 2016. The assessment indicated that sentencing severity had increased for domestic burglary and aggravated burglary since the guideline came into force, although this appeared to be part of a longer term trend. The assessment also showed that there had been a steep increase in sentencing severity for non-domestic burglary since mid-August 2011, which was subsequently maintained. It was not known, however, if the continuation of this increase was a result of the guideline, or the ongoing impact of the riots (the widespread public disorder featuring the looting of shops that took place in August 2011, and therefore pre-dated the coming into force of the guideline). It was therefore decided to conduct additional analysis to investigate possible reasons for the increases seen in sentencing severity.

The findings from the further evaluation (published in July 2017),  appeared to show that, overall, the burglary guideline had, to some extent, contributed to the unanticipated increases seen in sentencing severity for non-domestic and aggravated burglary offences (although due to low volumes for aggravated burglary this conclusion is less explicit). 

As a result of these findings, the Council decided to review the current Burglary Definitive Guideline.

The Council is consulting on three revised guidelines covering the same offences as the existing guidelines.  This consultation paper has been produced in order to seek views from as many people as possible interested in the sentencing of burglary offences.

During the 12- week consultation period, views on the draft guidelines will be explored with sentencers, and consultation events will be held with interested parties. Following the consultation, all the responses will be considered, and definitive guidelines published. The Council has also produced a resource assessment for the guidelines, along with a statistical bulletin and data tables showing current sentencing practice for these offences. These documents can be found here on the Council's website.

 It is important to note that the Council is consulting on sentencing these offences and not on the legislation upon which such offences are based. The relevant legislation is a matter for Parliament and is, therefore, outside the scope of this exercise.

How to give your views

Each draft guideline is discussed section by section. The guidelines can be found here on the website. A summary of the consultation questions can be found at Annex A. You can give your views by answering the questions within each section (you do not need to respond to any questions or sections that are not relevant to you.)

Age applicability

When issued as definitive guidelines these will only apply to offenders aged 18 and older. General principles to be considered in the sentencing of children and young people are in the Council’s definitive guideline.


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