Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-jqctd Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-21T15:24:31.322Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

6 - “The Very Centre of Observation and Information”

Constables, Magistrates, and Changing Patterns of Prosecution and Punishment, 1880–1913

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2021

Sascha Auerbach
Affiliation:
University of Nottingham
Get access

Summary

In the decades prior to the First World War, the relationship between policing, adjudication, and punishment was continually being redefined not only for those who were its targets, but for its wielders as well. Police authority in the courtroom, though strengthened by expertise and training, was hardly uncontested. Magistrates and police constables were under constant public supervision, and the former were keen to avoid the widespread hostility expressed towards the latter in working-class communities. Regardless of the increasing intrusion of policing into everyday life, it lay in a magistrate’s hands to decide if any given defendant deserved leniency or severity and which laws merited rigorous enforcement. Magistrates and journalists challenged the reputation of constables, while defendants opted for summary jurisdiction of indictable offenses or guilty pleas to mediate the consequences of arrest and prosecution. Through these and other practices, local courtrooms proved crucial in reshaping the legal and social consequences of police prosecutions in this period. The concluding portion of this chapter briefly analyses the social composition of the London magistracy and how they grounded their claims to moral authority in the courtroom.

Type
Chapter
Information
Armed with Sword and Scales
Law, Culture, and Local Courtrooms in London, 1860–1913
, pp. 281 - 340
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×