Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) Prisoners Books - UCD Digital Library

Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) Prisoners Books

Abstract: The Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) Prisoners Books for 1905-1908 and 1911-1918 are amongst the most valuable new documents to come to light on the revolutionary decade. They include important information on social and political life in the capital during the last years of the Union, from the period of widespread anticipation of Home Rule, to the advent of the 1913 Lockout, the outbreak of the First World War, the Easter Rising and its aftermath, including the conscription crisis of 1918. They will also be invaluable to those interested in criminology, genealogy, and family history.

Origin information
Dublin, Ireland : Dublin Metropolitan Police
Date created:
Type of Resource
Physical description
4 volumes
Scope and content
The collection comprises of four large leather bound, double ledger volumes containing hand written entries that record the details of daily charge sheets issued by DMP members to offenders or alleged offenders. Each volume contains the name, age, address, occupation, alleged offence and, in most cases, outcome of cases involving over 30,000 people arrested by the DMP. Each volume also contains an index of prisoners with references to the pages containing details of the charge.
Scope and content
Three of the four volumes bear the title “Prisoners Book” and each page of arrest records has the running title “Prisoners charged with offences involving dishonesty”. Three of the volumes are numbered on the spine - the first volume in the collection as 1, the third as 4, and the fourth as 5. The third volume in the collection is missing the number on the spine, but as the entries in this volume are dated immediately before those in book number 4, it has been assumed that this volume was numbered as 3. There is a gap in the dates between the volume numbered as 1 and this volume, so it is assumed that there was a volume number 2. It is unknown whether this volume survives. Volume 1 records all those arrested from April 1st 1905 to January 1st 1908. The second volume (assumed to be number 3) runs from January 1st 1911 to September 30th 1913. Volume 4 contains the entries from October 1st 1913 to 31st December 1915. Volume 5 records the arrests from January 1st 1916 to September 30th 1918.
Biographical/historical information
The Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) was established in 1836, along with the Irish Constabulary (later to be known as the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC)). The DMP and the RIC replaced the County Constabulary, a uniformed police force formed on a regional basis. Following the War of Independence and the truce of July 1921, the RIC disbanded and a new police force, “The Civic Guard” (renamed the Garda Síochána na hÉireann on 8 August 1923) was formed. The DMP merged with An Garda Síochána in 1925. There were 20 DMP stations located in Dublin City and the southern townships (most of County Dublin fell within the remit of the Royal Irish Constabulary). They were Blackrock, the Bridewell, Chancery Lane, Clarendon Street, Clontarf, College Street, Dalkey, Donnybrook, Fitzgibbon Street, Irishtown, Kevin Street, Kill O the Grange, Kilmainham, Kingstown, Lad Lane, Mountjoy, Newmarket, Rathmines, Store Street and Terenure. It is thought that the station sergeant in the Bridewell, which adjoined the Police Magistrates’ Courts, was responsible for collating the records from all the DMP stations. The alleged crimes detailed in the records range from murder to robbing sweet machines, and those arrested range in age from eight to 80. The passing of the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) on August 8th 1914 created an important new series of offences that were used increasingly against political activists.
Biographical/historical information
Besides describing the type of offences committed, whether ordinary or political crimes, the collection tells us a great deal about the type of people arrested, their gender balance, social problems in the city, sentencing policies of the Police Magistrates, and how events such as the 1913 Lockout and Easter Rising affected different groups in the community. For instance, these records confirm that the majority of people arrested during the 1913 Lockout were workers rather than “the foul reserves of the slums” as alleged by the Irish Catholic and other newspapers owned by William Martin Murphy. They also show a sharp rise in arrests of deserters and absentees from the British armed forces once the First World War broke out, a problem ignored in practically every account of the period. On the other hand, the large scale arrests of women in the aftermath of the Easter Rising for looting in the city centre do conform to the traditional narrative and correlate to areas of the city with widespread deprivation. The increasing incidence of public order offences and arrests under DORA from 1916 onwards often depict people not traditionally associated with criminal behaviour but more representative of the wider community, while the rising incidence of juvenile crime is a common feature across cities in wartime Europe. The information in these volumes serves, therefore, to provide new perspectives on life in Dublin during a time of war and revolution.
Ownership/custodial history
Volume number 4, covering the latter end of 1913 to the end of 1915, has been in the continuous possession of the DMP and then the Garda Museum and Archives. The other three volumes were probably discarded when the DMP was abolished in 1924 and were held by a private individual or individuals, before being discarded again in 2015. They were retrieved in the north Dublin inner city by a group of community activists who contacted author, journalist, and trade union activist Pádraig Yeates, through Michael Finn, a retired Detective Superintendent of the Garda Síochána. Pádraig Yeates arranged, with the permission of the group, to have all the volumes digitised by Eneclann. The group subsequently agreed to hand the volumes over to SIPTU on two conditions: one was that a donation be made to support a local youth project, and the second was that the information contained in them would go online, free to the public. SIPTU agreed to make a substantial donation to the project and UCD Library undertook to provide an open access, online digital publishing platform for the volumes.
Acquisition details
SIPTU provided three volumes to UCD Library, already digitised. UCD Library then digitised the volume for 1913 to 1915, held by the Garda Museum and Archives. On completion of the work, SIPTU presented the volumes in its possession to the Garda Museum and Archives.
Location of original
All four volumes in this collection are now held by the Garda Museum and Archives.
Registers (Lists)   linked data (lcgft)
Criminal records--Ireland--Dublin   linked data (lcsh)
Dublin Metropolitan Police --Records and correspondence
An Garda Síochána. Garda Museum and Archives
Suggested credit
"Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) Prisoners Books," held by Garda Museum and Archives. © Public domain. Digital content: © Various copyright holders - see individual records, published by UCD Library, University College Dublin <http://digital.ucd.ie/view/ucdlib:43945>
Related item
Dublin Metropolitan Police and Civic Guard (Garda Síochána) Personnel Registers

Cited/referenced by
[1] RTÉ The History Show : Dublin Metropolitan Police Files. Dublin, Ireland : RTÉ2016-01-31 –
[2] Yeates, Pádraig. The women were worse than the men : crime and society in Dublin during 1916. Dublin, Ireland : UCD Library on behalf of Pádraig Yeates2016 –
Record source
Descriptions created by staff of UCD Library, University College Dublin based on information supplied by Pádraig Yeates. — Metadata creation date: 2015-09-24

Rights & Usage Conditions

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Digital rights: Various copyright holders - see individual records