Most of the official archives of the Metropolitan Police have been deposited with The National Archives (TNA) where they are catalogued under the heading 'Mepo'. However there also exists other material ranging from station books to personal, unpublished memoirs, and including a variety of artefacts, maps and photographs. This material, now known as the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection (MPHC) has always been difficult to access and, in consequence, has rarely been seen let alone used by historians. The six modules that follow are based almost entirely on this collection. The modules were developed at the Open University in partnership with the Metropolitan Police as part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council Knowledge Transfer Fellowship – 'Policing and Citizenship: Resourcing a Better Understanding' (ref: AH/F008791/1).

The modules were not prepared with any target group of students in mind. However, while the content is historical, the aims are:

  1. To provide readers with a broad knowledge about the origins of the Metropolitan Police, the people who have served in it, and the various duties that they perform; and
  2. To encourage readers to think intelligently and critically about the role of the police in a modern, liberal democratic society.


The majority of the images used in these six modules have been created by photographing the documents in situ at the MPHC and TNA; consequently the quality is not as high as that obtained by scanning. It must be remembered that documents often fade and change colour as they age, the extent of such changes is dependant on the storage conditions.

Copyright © The Open University and Metropolitan Police Authority

The contents of this site are protected by the law of copyright in the United Kingdom and international treaties worldwide.

No part of these contents may be reproduced, decompiled, stored in any other retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise except in accordance with UK copyright Designs and Patents Act, 1988 and copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations 1992, or any other law pertaining to intellectual property in the appropriate territory without the prior permission of The Open University and the Metropolitan Police Authority.


If your browser displays a yellow box at the top of the active area, click on this and select Allow Blocked Content ... to enable the interactive elements.

logo of Metropoliotan PoliceArts and Humanities Research Council logo