The English Police 1829-1856: Consensus or Conflict?

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Harrison, Arthur
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1999
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The focus of this paper is the new English police institution during the formative years of its development from 1829 to 1856. It is based on the notion that historical perspectives are important for contemporary policing because of its recurring penchant to re-visit the past in an attempt to rationalise the present and justify the future. For the purpose of this analysis, this paper takes the two principal historical perspectives — orthodoxy and revisionism — and attempts to identify which of these schools of thought is the most persuasive in explaining the emergence of, opposition to, control of and role of the new police. This approach is an adaptation of the comparative model used by Robert Reiner in ‘The Politics of the Police’ (1992b). It is contended that the analysis is an ‘eclectic perspective’ with the conclusion favouring revisionism. In this sense, the birth of the new police institution in London in 1829 is best explained by orthodoxy, whereas the aspects of opposition, control and role during its development and expansion are weighted in favour of revisionism. It is contended that the analysis is an ‘eclectic perspective’ with the conclusion favouring revisionism. In this sense, the birth of the new police institution in London in 1829 is best explained by orthodoxy, whereas the aspects if opposition, control and role during its development and expansion are weighted in favour of revisionism.

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International Journal of Police Science and Management

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2

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2

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Criminology

Policy and Administration

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