Crime and Policing in Wartime

Emsley, Clive (2016). Crime and Policing in Wartime. In: Knepper, Paul and Johansen, Anja eds. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Crime and Criminal Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 519–536.



War affects combatant societies, and societies trampled over by warring armies and smashed by their munitions, in a variety of ways. This chapter draws out some of these effects with respect to crime and criminal offending in European societies since the mid-eighteenth century, and explores how that offending was investigated and suppressed. It focusses on three principal areas: first, the kinds of, and extent of offences committed by soldiers and sailors during war and its immediate aftermath; second, the ways in which the exigencies and pressures of, and the opportunities provided by war have prompted criminal activity among civilians; and third, the kinds of police that existed and that were specifically developed to deal with military offending.

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