CTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> History from Police Archives: Study courses and resource material for students of social history


This website provides study courses for students of social history working towards Key Stage 3 and higher. Each of the courses is broken down into short chapters illustrated with documents selected from archives. A set of questions accompanies each study course. All of this material can be printed either for reference or to provide handouts.

The resource material is presented as a number of collections of images: documents from the archives have been scanned in their entirety. Save for a brief introduction on each type of document, no narrative is provided with this material alloowing the reader a similar experience to that of reading the document in an archive. A number of the documents (record books) are physically quite large and in some cases their entries span the entire width of the book when opened. In such cases it has not been feasible to provide a printable version that is still legible.

Documents which feature in this resource are unedited reproductions of the source material. Any reproduction is provided for educational and information purposes only and should not be relied upon. Views, thoughts and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the original author(s), and not The Open University. The Open University does not necessarily agree with, support or promote any opinion or representation expressed and cannot vouch for the accuracy, completeness or fitness of any information provided.

Study Courses

Police in wartime and citizenship

Two modules examining the role of the police during World War II and their role in modern English society. The wartime material has been chosen particularly to provide a resource for Key Stage 3, and specifically for the study of the home front. Material for the citizenship course has been selected to generate class discussions about both the complexities of this role and about citizenship responsibilities in general. This material should sit comfortably with any GCSE and sixth-form study course.

Metropolitan Police

This six modules based on material from the Metropolitan Police archives looking at the origins of the Metropolitan Police and various historical elements of its work. Illustrative examples include extracts from unpublished memoirs of once-serving officers together with a variety of material from police stations, various official orders, police reports and police photographs.

Resource Material


This is hitherto unused material from the Metropolitan Police archives including scrap books investigating complaints kept by the first two commissioners, beat books, police station ledgers and district maps. This is presented as an archival source with a minimum of commentary.


This project, which commenced in 2006, was completed in September 2010. Any queries regarding the material contained on this site should be addressed to Dr Paul Lawrence at p.m.lawrence@open.ac.uk.

Copyright © The Open University

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 respective copyright holder of the material.


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.

Cartoon from Moonshine on fears of the Police Heritage lottery funded logo insignia of Metropolitan Police logo of Arts & Humanities Research Council