‘In Times of War, the Law Falls Silent’. The Impact of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939 on the Police and Policing in Norwich During the Second World War

Bylett, Robert (2020). ‘In Times of War, the Law Falls Silent’. The Impact of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939 on the Police and Policing in Norwich During the Second World War. Student dissertation for The Open University module A826 MA History part 2.

This dissertation was produced by a student studying the Open University module A826 MA History part 2. The research showcased here achieved a grade in either the Pass 1 band (equivalent to a 1st) or the Pass 2 band (equivalent to a 2.i).
Please note that this student dissertation is made available in the format that it was submitted for examination, thus the author has not been able to correct errors and/or departures from academic standards in areas such as referencing.
Copyright resides with the author and all rights are reserved.

Abstract

The Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939 significantly expanded the role of the police during the Second World War intruding into public life and limiting traditional freedoms. The overall aim of this dissertation is to advance the understanding of the changes in the role, responsibilities, organisation and structure of Norwich City Police from 1939 to 1945. Chapter one examines the organisation and structure of Norwich City Police and the extent to which this changed during the Second World War. Changes in organisation and structure and the creation and consolidation of reserve forces enabled the police to cope with a broad range of additional duties. Chapter two explores the wartime duties of the police. The role and responsibilities of the police expanded to accommodate Defence Regulations, though their central purpose of protecting life and property, preserving the peace, and preventing and detecting crime remained unchanged. Chapter three reflects on the impact of the Second World War on the police and policing. The war did more to enhance police and community relations than any other event. Official thinking during the Second World War remained unchanged; in that the police must remain independent of politicians, above all, a centralised national police organisation and structure was regarded as detrimental to liberty and democracy. The Defence Regulations were short-lived, though their influence continued, strengthening links between central Government and local police forces at the expense of local Government.

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