Polychronicon 157: Reinterpreting police-public relations in modern England

Teaching History feature

By David Churchill, published 16th December 2014

The relationship between the police and the public has long been a key subject in English social history. The formative work in this field was conducted between the 1970s and 1990s, but the past few years have witnessed something of a revival of research in the area. By focusing on new sources, new periods and new topics, recent work has led to new interpretations of an already well-researched topic.

Much early work in the social history of policing - loosely inspired by Marxist ideas of class relations - emphasised conflict between the police and the people. Robert Storch claimed that the newly-formed, professional police forces of the early Victorian period were met by a combination of derision and riotous resistance...

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