Conditional cautioning in England & Wales: a socio-legal analysis of policy and practice

Gibson, Cerys (2021) Conditional cautioning in England & Wales: a socio-legal analysis of policy and practice. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Using a mixed methodology, this thesis empirically examines how police officers in England & Wales use their discretion when making decisions on the use of conditional cautions. After explaining why this is an important topic for research, and setting out the research questions posed, the study begins with a basic quantitative analysis of original statistical data to reveal how often conditional cautions are administered in England & Wales, where, to whom, and for what offences.

Drawing on original qualitative data from case studies and interviews with relevant stakeholders and decision-makers in three police force areas, and forming the bulk of the thesis, the research then turns to a systematic and probing critical analysis of the conditional caution in action. More specifically, I examine how the stated policy aims and legal rules underpinning the conditional caution have been operationalised at an organisational level; how these have been interpreted within police working cultures and working rules; and how decisions are made in practice. The key finding of this research is that the aims of rehabilitation have been foregrounded in decision-making, both at the organisational and the individual level.

Finally, I explore the advantages and risks of this operational focus on rehabilitation, and their implications for current understandings of police discretion, culture and professionalisation and the balance between rehabilitation and proportionality and restorative justice.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Saunders, Candida
Jackson, John
Keywords: Police, Decision-making, Out-of-court disposals, Conditional cautions, Compassion, Offenders, Victims
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Law
Item ID: 65708
Depositing User: Gibson, Cerys
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2022 12:08
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2022 12:08

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