This is the first full scholarly study of the Metropolitan Police in the period 1870-1914, the time when it was transformed into a recognizably modern professional police force. Stefan Petrow examines how the Metropolitan Police, under the direction of the Home Office, grew and changed over these years. He explores the ways in which policing methods developed, traces the growth of the police bureaucracy, and assesses the role played by public attitudes, relations with courts, police corruption, and the resistance of those policed.
Dr Petrow focuses on what moral reformers in organized pressure groups claimed were serious threats to social order in late Victorian and Edwardian London - habitual criminality, prostitution, drunkenness, and betting - and examines the Metropolitan force's policing of these areas.
In this judicious, even courteous account, Stefan Petrow shows how the statutory and operational obligations of the Met rose exponentially in this period ... this is a fine monograph. * Peter Bailey, University of Manitoba, American Historical Review, December 1995 * an intesively researched...study of the reinvention of the state as a regulator of vice * English Historical Review * Petrow's research has been thorough... the content is significant and stimulating. Petrow has provided an important addition to our knowledge of the development of police in England; and the issues which he raises have important resonances for contemporary law making and enforcement. * British Journal of Criminology:; vol.36, winter '96. * The book is a worthy study of the growth of what Gatrell calls the "policemen state" ... Policing Morals is an important book, about a period that police historians have studied lightly. Petrow has done a fine job of disentangling the complicated threads of legal and bureaucratic wrangling over each issue, together with the labors of pressure groups, public opinion, and ultimately, the reality on the street. The work is well organized and
thoroughly documented, and the bibliography is full and conveniently arranged. * Albion * Petrow has done an admirable job of illuminating the ideological divide between advocates of increased state intervention in matters of individual and social morality, and their opponents...Petrow displays a wide acquaintance with the relevant secondary literature. * The Historian * Petrow has done an admirable job of illuminating the ideological divide between advocates of increased state intervention in matters of the individual and social morality, and their opponents...Petrow has drawn extensively on the vast contemporary periodical literature (in excess of seventy journals and newspapers are cited in the bibliography) as well as on the equally voluminous reports of committees and comissions on crime and society...In addition, Petrow
displays a wide acquaintance with the relevant secondary literature...this is an enlightening work. * The Historian * This is the first scholarly study of the formative years of the Metroploitan police. This is a fascinating and well-written book which warns that all of us must be on guard against the incursion of a punitive state. * LCCY Newsletter * 'the material here is of great interest and importance .. The debate over moral policing is fascinatingly covered .. an essential contribution both to British police history, and to the wider debate on the policing of "liberty".'
Times Literary Supplement