Pencil drawing by Ford Madox Brown. undated.
My academic research has concentrated upon the policing of petty crime. I am interested in discretionary policing, the ways in which the men on the beat tackled problems such as vagrants, fairs, blood sports, traditional recreations, drunkenness, pick pocketing, violence and gambling. The police invariably defined and targeted those whom they considered ‘needed arresting’ and in so doing the police often decided who were the outsiders or deviants. The police identified and dealt with problems on the streets and lanes of Cumbria.
My research uses the neglected minutiae of police and court records to deconstruct the role of the police, to do which I address the public expectations of the police, the opinions, decisions and orders of the chief constable and the magistrates, and the growth of police bureaucracy. Discretionary policing was culturally determined and rooted in the working class cultures of Cumbria. The historiography and nature of Victorian policing are tested by my study of Cumbria, a remote and unique region which was culturally, economically and agriculturally quite atypical of Victorian England. My work examines the police’s role at a time of social, economic and bureaucratic change and links the development of police expertise and professionalism with the process of state formation.
I also blog on teaching. For this, I draw upon my many years’ experience as a classroom teacher. Issues which catch my attention include the teaching of history. I have been a cyclist and runner for many years, and allow myself to blog on these subjects whenever an item of news catches my attention. If this eclectic set of interests puzzles you, it will be a relief for you to know that my Latin blogging is not on this site, but at:
My profile may be found at:
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