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Watching and policing in Manchester and Salford 1880 – 1900

Daniels, David (2018) Watching and policing in Manchester and Salford 1880 – 1900. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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This thesis provides an analysis of the work of the Salford and Manchester Watch Committees between 1880 –1900 and presents a unique comparative analysis of policing in the two towns. The analysis of police performance in the late nineteenth century is of vital importance in understanding the role the police were expected to perform. In this period HM government took an increasingly active part in national development and local government matured into an effective body. Manchester had a population of c.22,500 in 1773, rising to c.550,000 by 1901. Salford had experienced an increase from c.4,765 to c.220,000 over the same period. In the nineteenth century both Manchester and Salford changed dramatically and policing in Manchester and Salford changed as a result. The thesis will be based on four sets of primary data: the minutes of the Salford Watch Committee and the Manchester Watch Committee plus the Annual Reports of the respective Chief Constables. One of the elements of the thesis will revolve around the reliability of statistics. It will also examine the administrations of the two towns and determine if they attained a standard that could be expected of such municipal bodies, and the level of independence the two adjacent boroughs enjoyed. It will consider why crime rates fell sharply in the latter decades of the nineteenth century. Research into, and focus on, policing in Manchester and Salford in the late Victorian period has never been conducted before. This research is unique and original and will offer a significant contribution to the historiography by identifying levels of criminality, police performance and police management of the two towns.

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