Phillimore & Co Ltd

"INTERNET LAW BOOK REVIEWS Provided by Rob Jerrard LLB LLM (London)


A History Of The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary 1839-1966

Edition: 2006 (1st Published in 1967)

Author: Ian A Watt

ISBN: 1860773834

Publishers: Phillimore and Co Ltd

Price £15.99

Publication Date: Sept 2006

Publisher’s Title Information


This book takes the reader through the enthralling, and often surprising, history of Hampshire policing between 1839 and 1966.  Any fond notions the reader may have that the task' of maintaining law and order in rural areas was in any way tranquil or mundane will quickly be corrected. Those early police officers endeared harsh discipline, demanding working practices and punishing working hours - often without any public support. Included in this unique study is a wealth of material from former officers' records and memoirs, from which the author has vividly recreated the working lives and adventures of those officers who served before 1967, when all Hampshire police forces were required to amalgamate.  Here you will find stories of riots, murder and strikes, encompassing the breadth of both human endeavour and human failure. Throughout, the professionalism, loyalty and dignity of the former officers is epitomised.

lan A Watt’s comprehensively researched book was initially published in 1967.  The Hampshire Constabulary Historical Society has commissioned this new edition in order to keep alive its valuable historical information and to make the exciting history of ordinary Hampshire officers available to the public - whether local historian or crime aficionado -once more. It includes a comprehensive index and new illustrations. These fascinating tales of the 'beat bobbies' of yesteryear will appeal to anyone living in the Hampshire area or researching the history of British policing.


The Author

A native of Aberdeen, Ian A. Watt attended both Aberdeen University- and Merton College; Oxford, gaining an MA (Hons) in history at the former and an MA (Hons) in Philosophy; Politics and Economics at the latter. Military service intruded into his studies; but seems not to have affected the outcome!

He was appointed to the staff of the Police College in 1954 as a civilian tutor.  Promotion to the post of Sub-Dean of Academic Studies came in 1962, and from 1974 to 1986 he was Dean of Academic Studies. On retirement he was awarded the honorary title of Dean Emeritus.

Ian spent some time in America, undertaking roles including visiting professor at the John Jay College of Criminal justice, keynote speaker at the ACJS Conference in Reno in 1974 and lecturer at the University of Lexington, Connecticut.  He has been a visiting scholar and associate professor at die University of Illinois, Chicago; where he taught courses in British police history.


It is interesting to note, that I nearly came in on the very last paragraph of this splendid history of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary.  The years covered for that force are 1839 – 1966, because after that on 1 April 1967 the force ended its separate existence to amalgamate with the forces of Portsmouth and Southampton to become the Hampshire Constabulary.  The reason I nearly came into the story is because I am a Portsmouth boy and when I left the Royal Navy it had been my intention to join Portsmouth City Police.  In spite of an exciting childhood, apart from brief stays at police stations after running away I had managed to avoid them so far.  However, since it was now no more and Hampshire had no vacancies, like Dick Whittington I went to London town.  It was my intention to later transfer to my home county, however this wish never came about. 

I spent my childhood in Hampshire, much of it on bicycles and later motorcycles.  I know it well and am delighted to have this important reprint catalogue the superb record of its Police, first published in 1967. 

The history is divided into five books.  Books 4 and 5, 1915-1940 and 1940-1967 will be within the memory of many of those still living.  Previous to that those earlier officers will have passed on.  In August 1914 Special Constables were introduced for the first time and as a badge of office they wore an armlet on their left upper arm when they were on duty, plus they were issued with a warrant card.  An example of this can be seen in a photograph on my website at http://www.rjerrard.co.uk/law/city/cityphotos.html

It hasn’t been positively identified but suggestions have been made that this officer was in the Met or Essex Constabulary.  One piece of advice never offered to me was that they should carry some food in their pockets.

Further on in time we learn that at the outbreak of WWII the first Police Reserve stepped forward, reservists were called up and there was a newly-formed Police War Reserve.  Again further assistance was rendered by Specials.  On 1 April 1943 the Police Forces of Winchester and the Isle of Wight were amalgamated with the Hampshire Constabulary. 
This is a very well written history.  Reading through the pages reminds me of many of the place names that are familiar to me and I am pleased that the Hampshire Constabulary History Society decided to publish a new edition for the public to enjoy and historians to add to their libraries of force history.

There is a very comprehensive Index and some fine old photographs

Rob Jerrard



Sworn to Serve Police in Essex 1840-1990

Edition: 1st

Author: Maureen Scollan

ISBN: 0850339995

Publishers: Phillimore

Price £14.95

Publication Date: 1993

Publisher’s Title Information


Essex was one of the first counties to establish a full-time police force in 1840.  Today's highly-trained officers are part of a long and proud tradition in a county that was in the forefront of the move towards setting up professional police forces.  Captain John McHardy, its innovative first Chief Constable, provided advice and trained manpower for other forces all over Britain.  Thus this well-researched account of policing in Essex throughout the past 150 years will be of interest at both national and local level.

The author is uniquely qualified for the task; an historian, she was an Essex archivist before joining the force in which she still serves as an Inspector.  She has concentrated particularly on the work of ordinary police officers, identifying many by name, from varied sources including police records, local newspapers and personal recollections. This adds greatly to the human interest of her narrative, which is much livelier and more readable than most institutional histories.  For those in search of specific information there are detailed, appendices on such subjects as uniform, manpower and specialised depart­ments and, of course, a full index.


About The Author

Maureen Scollan was born in Essex, and became captivated by local history and research while still a schoolgirl.  Living next door to the police house in her home village helped to foster an interest in police work, but on leaving school she was torn between becoming an archivist or a career as a police officer; eventually she achieved both. During more than seven years as a member of the Essex Record Office staff she worked as a special constable in her spare time, but, after researching Essex police history for a university diploma, decided to join the regular force; local history then became a hobby.

Her career in the Essex Police began at Basildon, and at the time this book was published  she had worked in both uniform and CID, mainly in central and north Essex, apart from two secondments outside the county. While an instructor at the Police Training Centre at Ryton-on-Dunsmore in Warwickshire, she researched and published a book on its history in her spare time.  Promotion to inspector led to postings in Chelmsford and at Halstead, and she was at that time (1993) based at Essex Police Headquarters.  Having become fascinated by all aspects of the 19th century, she was in 1993 reading part-time for an MA in Victorian Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London.


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