Policing the Poor

Lawrence, Paul ed. (2014). Policing the Poor. The Making of the Modern Police, 3. London: Pickering & Chatto.


Controlling the poor was one of the key roles of the new police force. In the nineteenth century the poorer classes were often assumed to be the natural and deserving object of police attention. The link between crime, poverty and homelessness was a major concern for the ruling elite. Previous academic debate has centred on the ruling elite’s use of the police to keep the emergent labouring classes in check. However, the documents in this volume show that the relationship between the police and the poor was more complex, including functions that we would now class as ‘welfare’

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