A typology of nineteenth-century police

Emsley, Clive (1999). A typology of nineteenth-century police. Crime, History and Societies, 3(1) pp. 29–44.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/chs.934

URL: http://chs.revues.org/index934.html


Taking as its starting points the Bobby in Victorian England and some of the general conclusions of David H. Bayley's comparative work, this essay suggests that three basic types of police developed in nineteenth-century Europe. Focussing primarily on England, France, Italy and Prussia it argues that, in terms of accountability, control and form, state civilian, state military, and civilian municipal police can be delineated as Weberian ideal types. Individual states did not necessarily develop all three types ; but everywhere governments sought to learn and/or borrow from the police system and pratice of their neighbours, central governments were generality in negotiation with local government over policing matters, and were otherwise constrained by traditions and finance. The essay concludes by posing some very general questions for future work regarding police autonomy and police violence.

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