The Great British Bobby: A History of British Policing from the 18th Century to the Present.
The name 'Bobby' comes from Sir Robert Peel who, as home secretary, oversaw the creation of the Metropolitan Police in 1829. In spite of his position as a national institution and his appeal as a solution to present-day concerns about law and order, the social history of the Bobby has rarely been explored. Yet his story (and since the beginning of the twentieth century it is also her story) is as exciting as that of his military cousin, Tommy Atkins. Bobby served on the front line of what is often characterized as 'the war against crime.' He may rarely have fought in pitched battles and almost never with lethal weapons, but his life could be hard and dangerous. Up until the last third of the twentieth century he usually patrolled on foot, in all weathers by day and, more often, by night. The drudgery of the foot patrol fostered that other nickname, 'Mr Plod'; something that may, or may not, have passed Enid Blyton by when she chose the name for the policeman of Noddy's Toytown. The period covered by The Great British Bobby saw massive economic, social and political change in Britain. The policing institution has shifted significantly in tandem, from having its primary relationship directly with the decentralized, local community, to becoming an instrument of the central state with, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, targets set and regulated centrally for the good of what politicians and policing professionals consider as the national community. Criminological expert Clive Emsley is ideally placed to tell the story of this remarkable and iconic institution; his book is nothing less than a social history of Britain over the last 180 years.
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