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Profile summary

  • Senior Lecturer in History
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Hist, Rel St, Soc, SP&C
  • History
  • chris.williams

Professional biography

(I'm not to be confused with the 'A'-less Professor Chris Williams at Cardiff University). I'm a Senior Lecturer in History affiliated to the International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice; the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research and the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance and Privacy. I have an MA in Urban History from the University of Leicester, and a PhD from the University of Sheffield, with the thesis topic 'Police and Crime in Sheffield, 1818-1873'.

Currently I am also serving as the Arts Media Fellow for the Open Media Unit.

I am a member of the Social History Society, and of the Crime and Punishment museums and archives network.

Broadcasting:

Initiator of the BBC Radio 4 series 'The Things We Forgot To Remember'

Academic consultant to:

  • 'The Things We Forgot To Remember' (series 1-3)
  • 'Wartime Farm'
  • 'Andrew Marr's History of the World'
  • 'Full Steam Ahead'

Research interests

  • All aspects of the history of crime and policing since about 1750, especially concerning British and British colonial police.
  • The preservation of the records of British police forces.
  • The public history of criminal justice in the UK and beyond.
  • The relationship between history and memory.
  • The globalisation of policing practice (see COPP network).
  • The history of the control room (lecture here).
  • Public history, particularly as it relates to methods of communicating historical knowledge via broadcasting.

Research students

I  am an experienced supervisor and examiner of research projects at Masters and Doctoral level, but I am unlikely to be able to commit to taking on any more new doctoral students for entry in 2016.

I have successfully supervised doctoral students working on the following topics at the OU:

  • 'British Government Responses to Terrorism, 1865-1975'
  • 'County Police Chief Constables, 1857-1914'
  • 'The Public History of the UK Criminal Justice System'
  • 'Narrative verdicts and deaths after police contact, 2001-2011'

I am currently supervising doctoral students working on the following topics at the OU:

  • 'Employment and Publicity of corporal and Capital Punishment in the Civil and Military Communities of Britain from 1750 onwards'
  • 'From Constables to Constabulary: Eighteenth and Early-Nineteenth Century systems of policing in Hertfordshire'
  • 'Popular Representations of Crime: the 'Illustrated Police News', 1867-1938'
  • 'Behind the front line: Non-confrontational responses to youth crime from the Manchester and Salford city police forces 1933-1963'
  • 'The material culture of police archives'
     

Publications:

Books

Police control systems in Britain, 1775-1975: From parish constable to national computer Manchester University Press, 2014.

Police and Policing in the Twentieth Century (Ashgate: Abingdon: 2010) [editor] Vol.3 of History of Policing.

(with B. Godfrey and P. Lawrence) History and Crime (Sage: London, 2007).

Giving the Past a Future: Preserving the Heritage of the UK's Criminal Justice System (Francis Boutle: London, 2004) [edited collection].

 

Articles

'Police Governance - Community, Policing, and Justice in the modern UK' in Taiwan in Comparative Perspective, Vol. 3, 2010, pp. 50-65 [Read this online]

'British Policing in the Twentieth Century', introduction to C.A.Williams (ed) Police and Policing in the Twentieth Century (Ashgate: Aldershot: 2010) [978-0-7546-2954-2] Vol.3 of History of Policing.

'Policing the Populace: The Road to Professionalisation' in David Nash and Anne-Marie Kilday (eds) Histories of Crime: Britain 1600-2000 (Palgrave: Basingstoke, 2010). [978-0-230-22469-8] pp. 160-179.

'What's a 'back office' for? The case of policing' History and Policy, June 2010 [Read this online]

 'Labelling and Tracking the Criminal in Mid-Nineteenth Century England and Wales: The Relationship between Governmental and Creating Official Numbers' in Ann Rudinow Sætnan, Heidi Mork Lomell, and Svein Hammer (eds) The Mutual Construction of Statistics and Society (Routledge: Abingdon,  '2011'), [978-0-415-87370-3] pp. 157-171.

'Police filming English streets in 1935: the limits of mediated identification' Surveillance and Society 6.1 (2009) 3-9.
[Read this online]

'Ideologies, structures, and contingencies: writing the history of British criminal justice since 1975' Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique, 14.4 (2008) 59 - 84.

'Constables for hire: the history of private 'public' policing in the UK', Policing and Society, 18.2, (2008) 190 — 205.

'How it actually was'? A historian responds to 'On Historical Contextualisation' Crimes and Misdemeanours: Deviance and the Law in Historical Perspective Vol. 1, No 2, (2007)
[Read this as a PDF]

(with Georgina Sinclair) ‘Home and Away'; the Cross Fertilisation between ‘Colonial' and ‘British' Policing, 1921-1985' Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 35.2 (2007) 221 - 238.

'Rotten boroughs? How the towns of England and Wales lost their police forces in 1964.' in J. Moore and J.B. Smith (eds) Urban Corruption (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007).

'I am not on the beat now, the New Police have come there.' – Using the Old Bailey Online to study the changing enforcers of the law in London, 1730-1834. Internet symposium on the Old Bailey database - February 12, 2006.
[Read this online]

'Police and the Law' in S. Berger (ed.) Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth Century Europe (Oxford, Blackwell, 2006).

(with Clive Emsley) 'Beware of the Leopard?: Police archives in Great Britain' in M. Proctor (ed.) Political Pressure and the Archival Record (Chicago, Society of American Archivists, 2006).

'The Sheffield Democrats' critique of criminal justice in the 1850s' in R. Colls and R. Rodger (eds) Cities of Ideas: Civil Society and Urban Governance in Britain 1800-2000 (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2004).

'Catégorisation et stigmatisation policières à Sheffield au milieu du XIXe siècle' Revue d'Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine 50.1 (2003) 104 – 125. [Read an English version of this online]

'Britain's police forces: forever removed from democratic control?' in History and Policy, Dec 1st, 2003. [http://www.historyandpolicy.org/archive/policy-paper-16.html]

'Police surveillance and the emergence of CCTV in the 1960s' in M. Gill (ed.) CCTV in Perspective (Perpetuity Press, Leicester, 2003).

'Police surveillance and the emergence of CCTV in the 1960s' in Crime Prevention and Community Safety 5.3 (2003) 27-38.

'Counting crimes or counting people: some implications of mid-nineteenth century British police returns' in Crime, Histoire & Sociétés/Crime, History & Societies. 4.2 (2000), 77-93.

'Expediency, authority and duplicity: reforming Sheffield's police 1832 - 1840' in R. Trainor and R. Morris (eds) Urban Governance: Britain and Beyond since 1750. (Ashgate: Aldershot, 2000), pp. 115-127

Follow this link for podcasts and research papers in progress.

Teaching interests

I am currently a member of the module teams for :

A327 Europe 1914-1989: war, peace, modernity (see the video introduction to this on YouTube)
A326 Empire, 1492-1975

 

Impact and engagement

I am an active member of the History and Policy network, and help to convene their seminar series at the Home Office. 

External collaborations

I am external examiner for the University of Northampton's MA in History

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences
International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and JusticeCentreFaculty of Arts

Publications

Police governance – community, policing, and justice in the modern UK (2011-03)
Williams, Chris A.
Taiwan in Comparative Perspective, 3 (pp. 50-65)
Police filming English streets in 1935: the limits of mediated identification (2009)
Williams, Chris A.; Patterson, James and Taylor, James
Surveillance and Society, 6(1) (pp. 3-9)
Ideologies, structures and contingencies: writing the history of British criminal justice since 1975 (2008-07)
Williams, Chris A.
Revue Francaise de Civilisation Britannique, 14(4) (pp. 59-84)
Constables for hire: the history of private 'public' policing in the UK (2008-05-28)
Williams, Chris A.
Policing and Society, 18(2) (pp. 190-205)
'Home and Away': The Cross-Fertilisation between 'Colonial' and 'British' Policing, 1921-85 (2007-06)
Sinclair, Georgina and Williams, Chris
Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 35(2) (pp. 221-238)
Britain’s police forces: forever removed from democratic control? (2003-12-01)
Williams, Chris
History and Policy
Police surveillance and the emergence of CCTV in the 1960s (2003-07)
Williams, Chris A.
Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 5(3) (pp. 27-37)
Catégorisation et stigmatisation policières á Sheffield au milieu du XIXe siècle [Numbering crimes and measuring space: policing Sheffield in the mid-nineteenth century] (2003)
Williams, Chris A.
Revue d'Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine, 50(1) (pp. 104-125)
Counting crimes or counting people: some implications of mid-nineteenth century British police returns (2000-11)
Williams, Chris
Crime, History and Societies, 4(2) (pp. 77-93)
Police Control Systems in Britain, 1775–1975: From Parish Constable to National Computer (2014-02)
Williams, Chris A.
ISBN : 978-0-7190-8429-4 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester
History and Crime (2008)
Lawrence, Paul; Williams, Chris and Godfrey, Barry
Key Approaches to Criminology
ISBN : 9781412920803 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
History and Crime (2007)
Godfrey, Barry S.; Williams, Chris A. and Lawrence, Paul
Key approaches to criminology
ISBN : 978 1 4129 2079 7 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London, UK
Policing the Populace: The road to professionalisation (2010)
Williams, Chris
In: Kilday, Anne-Marie and Nash, David eds. Histories of Crime: Britain 1600-2000 (pp. 160-179)
ISBN : 978-0-230-22469-8 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Labelling and tracking the criminal in mid-nineteenth century England and Wales: The relationship between governmental and creating official numbers (2010)
Williams, Chris A.
In: Sætnan, Ann Rudinow; Lomell, Heidi Mork and Hammer, Svein eds. The Mutual Construction of Statistics and Society (pp. 157-171)
ISBN : 978-0-415-87370-3 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Police and the Law (2006)
Williams, Chris
In: Berger, Stefan ed. Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth Century Europe (pp. 345-354)
ISBN : 1 4051 1320 0 | Publisher : Blackwell Publishing | Published : Oxford, UK
Beware of the Leopard? Police archives in Great Britain (2006)
Williams, Chris and Emsley, Clive
In: Procter, M and Cook, M. G. eds. Political Pressure and the Archival Record (pp. 227-235)
ISBN : 1 931666 15 6 | Publisher : Society of American Archivists | Published : Chicago, UK
The Sheffield Democrats' critique of criminal justice in the 1850s (2004-05)
Williams, Chris A.
In: Rodger, Richard and Colls, Robert eds. Cities of Ideas: Civil Society and Urban Governance in Britain 1800-2000. Historical Urban Studies (pp. 96-120)
ISBN : 0 7546 0650 3 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot, UK
Expediency, authority and duplicity: reforming Sheffield’s police 1832-1840 (2000-04)
Williams, Chris
In: Morris, Robert J. and Trainor, Richard H. eds. Urban Governance: Britain and Beyond since 1750. Historical Urban Studies (pp. 115-127)
ISBN : 0 7546 0015 7 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot, UK
Police and Policing in the Twentieth Century (2011-03)
Williams, Chris A. ed.
The History of Policing
ISBN : 978-0-7546-2954-2 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Farnham
Giving the past a future: preserving the heritage of the UK's Criminal Justice System (2004-03-30)
Williams, Chris ed.
ISBN : 1903427215 | Publisher : Francis Boutle | Published : London, UK