The Open UniversitySkip to content

Police filming English streets in 1935: the limits of mediated identification

Williams, Chris A.; Patterson, James and Taylor, James (2009). Police filming English streets in 1935: the limits of mediated identification. Surveillance and Society, 6(1) pp. 3–9.

Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This article considers and early example of technologically-mediated visual surveillance: the use of cine cameras by the British police in 1935 in the English town of Chesterfield in an operation to crack down on illegal street betting. The paper argues that the operation and its consequences in the judicial system illustrate a number of issues: unreliable policing on the ground; the enthusiasm for technological approaches to crime; and the limits of those approaches. The paper concludes that the Chesterfield case should prompt us to take another look at the impact of technology on interwar British policing, and its relationship to surveillance.

Item Type: Article
Copyright Holders: 2009 The Authors
ISSN: 1477-7487
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetSurveillance Studies Network
Not SetNot SetOpen University Arts Faculty
Keywords: Visual surveillance; technology; film; identification; policing
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)
Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC)
Item ID: 13014
Depositing User: Chris Williams
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2009 01:32
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 10:17
Share this page:

▼ Automated document suggestions from open access sources

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340