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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Masters in Criminology to the Technological University Dublin, 2011.


The Garda Síochána Adult Caution Scheme was established in 2006. It is among a range of alternate methods which have been introduced in recent years that are designed to divert adults away from the criminal justice system. The scheme provides a mechanism by which individuals receive a formal police caution in lieu of prosecution before the courts. It is only available to certain persons against whom there is evidence of the commission of a scheduled criminal offence and where the prosecution of such an offence is not in the public interest (An Garda Síochána, 2006:2009). This thesis examines the scheme over a five year period since its inception in 2006 to 2010. A quantitative research methodological approach was selected for this study. Data from over 670,246 incidents was obtained from the Central Statistics Office. An analysis of the data provided a profile of the recipients of the scheme and the type of offences that are most commonly disposed of by way of an adult caution. The research also explored the post caution offending behaviour of the participants and the consistency of application of the scheme across the various Garda geographical regions. Recommendations arising from this research include additional qualitative research by way of interview of the recipients of a caution and the expansion of the scheme to cover additional offences.