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Historical Perspectives: the relationship between police and community in twentieth- century Scotland Leverhulme Trust RPG-387 Richard Sparks, Neil Davidson.

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Presentation on theme: "Historical Perspectives: the relationship between police and community in twentieth- century Scotland Leverhulme Trust RPG-387 Richard Sparks, Neil Davidson."— Presentation transcript:

1 Historical Perspectives: the relationship between police and community in twentieth- century Scotland Leverhulme Trust RPG-387 Richard Sparks, Neil Davidson (Law) Louise Jackson, Linda Fleming, Davie Smale (History)

2 Our project: police and community in C20th Scotland Historical mapping of relationship between police officers and the diverse urban and rural communities they served To historicise our understanding of ‘Community Policing’ (origins; mythologies) To contribute to current debates about local policing and community policing

3 Our project: methods Historical records Personnel records Station occurrence books Published memoirs Newspapers - Mitchell Library Glasgow - Highland Archives - National Registers of Scotland 40 Interviews -Recruited through RPOAS -Highlands and islands; Glasgow and Lanarkshire -Youngest born 1924, began service in 1945

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5 Today’s presentation Highland and islands Idealisation of the village bobby (progenitor of ‘community policing’) What were characteristics of the model of policing delivered in these areas? How different were they to the experience of urban policing in Scotland? How did they change? Strengths and weaknesses: what can we learn from this?

6 Highland counties 1900-c.1960 Glasgow 1900-c.1960 (street policing) Population Depopulation (outward migration) until WWII; sparse distribution Growth (immigration); dense distribution Communities Distinction between: a) older settled population (partly closed with high levels of self-regulation and low levels of internal social conflict) and b) transient population (labour and military camps; ‘tinkers’ and vagrants) More fluid and open, but also high levels of social conflict: sectarianism; class and politics. Police presence Officers and families embedded and visible; ‘insiders’ Aloof but visible; migrant Police role Generalist Admin/advice/service/communication Street constable: protection of property; street order; increasingly specialist (with movement into and between specialist units). Characteristics of networks & relationships Individualised and interpersonal; friendship. Individualised and interpersonal Partnerships informal Table A: comparison of Highland counties and Glasgow c. 1900-1950

7 Table A (cont.) Highland counties 1900-c.1960 Glasgow 1900-c.1960 (street policing) Crime rates lowhigh Police discretion Very high level of autonomyHigh level of autonomy within tasks Police authority and legitimacy Positional status / deference Police tactics Diffusive; consensual; moral force. Use of warnings. Consensual and moral force, but with recourse to: confrontation; physical force. Policing whom? Migrant males (navvies; labour; ‘tinkers’; military; vagrant); the one local criminal Political dissenters; house-breakers; the anti-social (‘neds’) Policing for whom? Settled community State: national security. Property owners; ‘Law-abiding’. Partisan? Perceived alliance with landowners in some areas. Police emphasise impartiality Perceived association with Protestant community. Police emphasise impartiality

8 Highland counties 1900-c. 1960 Highland counties c.1980< Population depopulationslow growth Communities Older closed settlementsFluid and more open Police presence (geography) Embedded Coverage of large areas; trunk roads Police role Generalist Admin/advice/service/communication Increasingly specialist Relationships and networks Individualised and interpersonalStructured Partnerships Informalformal Table B: Changes in Highland counties by late C20th

9 Table C: Strengths and weakness of earlier model of policing for building trust and legitimacyHighlandEarly C20thLate C20thStrengths Embeddedness: Potential for deep qualitative relationships based on mutual trust Role as generalist: builds up trust Discretion: response is personalised and bespoke to meet individual need High levels of professional training Emphasis on structures and procedures: impartiality Improvement in resources and working conditions (resilience) Weaknesses Discretion: too dependent on character and personality Potential to be viewed as partisan Lack of professional training Lack of specialist knowledge Emphasis on structures and procedures: lack of flexibility Lack of embeddedness (movement of officers)


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