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(linked to the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research)

Research Projects

Members of the centre are engaged in a number of research projects, a substantial number of which are or have been externally funded. Please see below for short descriptions of funded projects, collaborative projects, and research being pursued by individuals leading to forthcoming monographs.

Externally Funded Projects (in progress from 2008):

Ethnicity, crime and justice in England 1700-1825 (ESRC)

Peter King and John Carter Wood

By analysing the impact of ethnicity on patterns of recorded crime and on decision-making at every point in the criminal justice system during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, this project, which focuses primarily on London, with its growing black and Irish population, explores the following questions: Were these ethnic groups over-represented among those accused of property crime, violent crime etc? and were they were more likely to be found guilty and to receive harsher punishments? How were they treated when they brought cases as victims to the courts? It also looks at the language used when ethnic minorities appeared in court, the overall aim being to gain a deeper understanding of attitudes towards race and ethnicity in this period.

Police, Press, Public and the Celebrity Female Victim in Britain 1926-1930 (AHRC)

Peter King and John Carter Wood

This project will examine the historical roots of a phenomenon that is commonplace today: the large impact that media sensationalism regarding crime victims and suspects has on initiating and shaping public policy priorities. In interwar Britain, growing public anxieties about the police reached an important peak in 1928, culminating in the Royal Commission on Police Powers and Procedure (that concluded the following year). High profile cases involving female suspects significantly drove those concerns. These women were often turned into media celebrities, discussed not only on the front pages of newspapers but also in parliamentary debates and committees. Their cases spoke not only to narratives of crime and femininity but also to issues such as the presentation and reception of stories of women's victimisation, the police treatment of suspects (particularly women) and the political and press responses to accusations regarding the illegitimate use of police powers.

Exploring UK Policing Practices as a Blueprint for Democratic Police Reform: the overseas deployment of UK police officers, 1989-2009 (ESRC)

Clive Emsley and Georgina Sinclair

This ESRC project forms part of an ongoing project considering UK international policing from 1945 to the present day.  It focuses specifically upon the impact of UK policing policies and procedures in designing and implementing aspects of community policing within peace support operations since 1989, and will conduct oral histories with police officers who have been involved in missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Georgia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The project will also set up stakeholder workshops in 2011 to enable dialogue between academics and practitioners on issues that are central to international policing today.

Mapping the Education of the Poor in Nineteenth-Century Suffolk (Marc Fitch Fund)

Rosalind Crone

This project expoits the rich gaol registers compiled at county gaols in Suffolk to map the acquisition of the literate skills by the labouring poor during the seventy years or so before the imposition of a national system of elementary education in 1870. By also tracking criminal careers of individuals, it also aims to shed light on the acquisition of 'illicit knowledge'.


Collaborative Projects:

History of Policing - 4 volume reference series from Ashgate

Series Editor: Clive Emsley

Several members of the ICHPCJ have been involved in putting together this four volume reference series for Ashgate. This authoritative series brings together the most important and influential English-language scholarship in the field, arranged chronologically across four volumes. The series includes articles on the shifting meaning of ‘police’, the growth of bureaucratic policing during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, consolidation in the twentieth century, and the international diffusion of export models and practices. The texts included come from a range of disciplines and chart the recent debates from traditional Whig history, revisionist work published during the last quarter of the twentieth century and subsequent reassessments.

Volume One: Theories and Origins of the Modern Police, edited by Clive Emsley

The most significant English-language articles on the historical development of the police institution are gathered together in this volume. The articles introduce the theoretical outlines that have been suggested for the origins and development of modern police institutions across Europe and explore the systems of enforcement, and the criticisms of them, that had emerged on the eve of the revolutionary upheavals in Europe.

Volume Two: The New Police in the Nineteenth Century, edited by Paul Lawrence

Written by leading criminal justice historians, the articles brought together in this collection challenge accepted views regarding the introduction of the ‘New Police’ to Great Britain and Ireland during the period 1829 to 1856. The research shows that there were significant changes to the way in which Britain and Ireland were policed during the nineteenth century, but that these changes were by no means as straightforward or as progressive as they have been represented

Volume Three: Police and Policing in the Twentieth Century, edited by Chris A. Williams

Recent research has suggested that the label ‘golden age’ is an over-simplification of British policing between the mid-nineteenth century and the present. This volume reprints the classic articles which address issues such as: the structure and reform of the police organisation; the nature of the policing task; who carried out this task; and some of the crises and ongoing areas of concern faced by the police in this period.

Volume Four: Globalising British Policing, edited by Georgina Sinclair

The policing system in Britain today has emerged from an historical overlap of two policing models: a civil (English) and a semi-military (colonial) tradition. Whereas academic research has historically tended to focus on the policing of mainland Britain, these essays concentrate on recent scholarly work on British colonial policing. The research shows how the meshing of the two policing systems currently contributes to the globalisation of British policing today.

Download a copy of the flyer for the set, which contains contents lists for all four volumes and purchasing information, here.

Local Policing in Eighteenth-Century China and England

Funding of £7,500 has been awarded by the British Academy Visiting Scholars Scheme, so that Professor Peter King can host, with the centre as a whole the five month visit of Dr Songtao Yang, School of law, Henan University, China who will be working on 'Local Policing in Eighteenth-century China and England: A Comparative study

GERN Working Group Project

This project provides initial funding towards the setting up of a European network of institutions with an interest in advancing the study of colonial and postcolonial policing. The group has already hosted a workshop on colonial policing at the Open University (September, 2009) and at the Sorbonne (December, 2009) and will host a third workshop in Leiden in September 2010 and a fourth in Porto in 2011. For more information, see the forthcoming events page.

Colonial and Postcolonial Policing (COPP)

This international network of academics and practitioners was set up in September 2009 to further the study of colonial, postcolonial and international policing and to provide a forum for discussion and future events. Hosted by the Open University, this network is convened by Georgina Sinclair and Chris Williams. Follow this link for more information.


Monographs in Progress:

Directing Britain's Police, 1780-1980

Chris Williams is currently working on a book for Manchester University Press entitled 'Directing Britain's Police, 1780-1980'. This will explore the ways that police organisations have changed in the long term - from artisan parish constable, through a proletarianised new policeman, followed by increasing professionalisation of the job of policing, and the adoption of real-time control, culminating in the large-scale introduction of computers.

Global Cops: the Internationalisation of British Policing 1945-2010

Georgina Sinclair is currently working on monograph entitled, 'Global Cops: the Internationalisation of British Policing 1945-2010', which considers the history of the UK's overseas police deployments. It begins with the experience of the the Allied Control Commission in WW2, and ranges through interventions in the British Empire and Commonwealth, Europe, and under the auspices of the UN. It ends by considering the present day involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Ethnicity, Crime and Justice: Prejudice and Practice in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

Peter King and John Carter Wood are currently working on a book provisionally entitled, 'Ethnicity, Crime and Justice: Prejudice and Practice in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries'. This book constitutes the first attempt to systematically analyse the impact of ethnicity on patterns of prosecution, victimisation and judicial decision-making for the pre-Victorian period. Although modern criminological research has established that race and ethnicity have a deep impact on the workings of the criminal justice system, no substantial historical work has yet been done on this subject for pre-1830 England. By using a wide range of court archives, and by analysing the decisions and the speeches made in  court, as well as the ways they were reported in the newspapers, this book aims to contribute a new dimension into current debates on attitudes to race, attitudes to core non-British groups (Irish and Jews) and attitudes to different subgroups among those who were British ( Welsh and Scots) and to create a history of attitudes toward ethnic groups when seen ‘from below’. An initial approach to Oxford University Press has indicated that they are interested in the idea but a full submission is not expected to take place until mid 2010 when final drafts of several core chapters will have been completed.











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