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Inside the British Police - A Force at Work

NCJ Number
S Holdaway
Date Published
191 pages
Based on the author's experiences as a police officer in a major British city, this book analyzes the daily activities of urban policing, police attitudes, and investigative tactics as a reflection of police socioculture.
The author describes the use and meaning of space within the police station as related to the ways police construct their very specific world and protect it from outsiders. The area policed, called the 'ground,' is discussed from the perspective of territoriality theory. A chapter on police manipulation of shift time concludes that police officers, particularly the lower ranks, exploit the freedom available within the formal timetable of police work to mold policing activities to conform with their image of the police role. In spite of policy changes, the occupational culture of the lower ranks remains the basic stock of knowledge which affects police conduct. Police officers' views of different groups in the territory are examined, as are police attitudes toward suspects and strategies for control. An account of how suspects are handled focuses on techniques used to obtain confessions of guilt. The use of force in policing is explored, along with ways police officers use cars, radio communications, and stories to maintain and strengthen their occupational culture. Finally, policy issues arising from the author's research are highlighted. Over 140 references and an index are supplied.