This research will investigate public and professional understandings of policing in relation to English social history since 1945. It will examine how policing has been officially represented in the post-war period; how different sections of the English populace now remember and reconstruct policing, and how policing is situated in relation to other aspects of English society and culture. In so doing, the research will draw on recent work in social theory, anthropology and social history in order to examine how policing serves as a vehicle through which people understand the society they live in, and interpret its past, present and possible futures. The research will employ a range of complementary research methods within a detailed historical ethnography. Documentary data will be collected and analyzed on police representations of themselves and aspects of English society during the post-war period. We will also undertake focus groups and oral history interviews with i) various strata of the public ii) retired and long-serving police officers; and iii) a small number of key players in post-war policing debates. The interpretation of these perspectives will develop a detailed and nuanced account of the competing sensibilities towards policing that have existed within English society in the post-war period.

Start date
Sunday, August 31, 1997
End date
Monday, August 30, 1999
Professor Ian Loader
Grant amount
Grant reference
Socio-Legal Studies
Grant type