|The Gentlemen at War Policing Britain 1939-45 by Roy Ingleton|
Very little has been written about the work of the police in the Second World War. The fire service, the wardens, the Home Guard - all have had books devoted to them. But the vital role played by the omnipresent police men and women, has been largely ignored. And yet policing tasks and responsibilities underwent an almost complete change virtually overnight. Draconian new laws were passed; policemen whose beats happened to include a Jewish ghetto found themselves interning some good friends, just because they came from Germany. New organisations were formed (wardens, Home Guard, AFS), many of which had responsibilities that tended to overlap those of the police. No longer did the country bobby have just a little poaching to worry about; he suddenly found a squadron of B17s based on his "patch", with its full complement of attendant US servicemen.
This book examines the changed role of the wartime police force and the effect the War had on the morals and mores of the population. It explores how shortages and rationing affected traditional standards. It reviews how the absence of menfolk and the influx of foreign troops was reflected in changes in moral behaviour, increased prostitution, sexual offences and vice in general. Other matters considered are the variations in crime patterns, the effect of the war on police/public relations and whether the experience fundamentally changed police attitudes and subsequent policing philosophies.
Using both primary sources (the memories of surviving members of the force) and secondary sources (official publications, contemporary books, magazines, etc.), THE GENTLEMAN AT WAR successfully conveys the flavour of the period whilst providing an empirical analysis of the philosophy of policing in those uniquely troubled years.