Inside The British Police : A Force At Work Book Review Essay

Decent Essays
Inside The British Police: A Force At Work book review
This is a book full of moral outrage, indignant at the exposed police practices during Simon Holdaway’s covert participant observation. Most of the events are centred around the “Hilton” branch which is an area that cultivated social deprivation and formed the “ground on which many police officers spent their working lives” (Holdaway, 1983, P.1). At the time of writing his then doctoral thesis, Holdaway was serving as a sergeant in the London Metropolitan police, making this book a unique piece of literature, filling the gaps of knowledge previous studies couldn’t penetrate because of the researcher-researched dynamic. Holdaway was not just researching the police, he was researching the very people he worked with, and at the time, before the PACE act of 1984 which outlined various strict rules and codes of conduct for police that continue today. (Loftus, 2016)
When Holdaway conducted his research there were no ethics committees or guidelines for covert ethnography and the guarded culture of police, combined with their mandate to use force and discretionary powers (at the lower ranks), meant it was important they were studied. Holdaway’s justification was a totalitarian one and In order to get real data that wasn’t staged, covert was the way forward. “When such an institution is over protective... it’s important they be studied” (Holdaway, 1983, P.1). It does appear throughout the book, that some colleagues may have
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