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Why is the Golden Age of Policing' such a potent myth in British society?

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Why is the Golden Age of Policing' such a potent myth in British society? The Golden Age of policing refers to a time when things were apparently better. We have all heard elders in our society talk of the good old days when none of today's atrocities happened: when the police did a better job, when there weren't as many criminals. However how true is the myth of the Golden Age? In order to examine this myth it is crucial to look at the police and their roles back in the 1940s and 50s and compare it to their roles today and also look at society and their view of the police. There is lots of historical evidence available to us about the police and how it has formed since, in particular the 18th Century. This evidence is based on original documentation from the time and gives us an accurate account, however we can only interpret and construct the history, as there is nobody alive to tell us otherwise. The so-called Golden Age is within living memory and we only have to use the evidence, to tell us of the time, but we can also ask people who were there. These people can compare current policing to the Golden Age and in contrast an age of better times is created. This works with other issues not only policing. ...read more.


The police drive round in cars and are hardly seen in some areas. Other areas do have a police presence but it is not always welcome. The police are now more readily armed and use deadly force if needed. In recent years even this year innocent people have been shot and killed by the police. Policing has become bureaucratic and this has caused limited results. Policing has become ruled by administration and paperwork and sees police officers spending most of their time in police stations. In the 1940s and 50s policing was seen as very benevolent. They were members of a community who were well natured and well mannered, they lived within the locality and were seen as non-confrontational. There was an apparent use of minimal force. They didn't carry arms and the local bobby was seen with nothing other than his truncheon. Society at the time was in a state of stability and the public order role of police was very minimal. Policing was seen as un-technological. They didn't have the use of cars or mobiles and the local bobby was visible walking or on a bike. Policing was something that was good. To examine this view we must first analyse people's attitudes at the time. During the Second World War people were used to figures of authority and they were used to discipline. ...read more.


Today the police are seen more as Robocop than Dixon who would wade in with guns and bombs rather than a truncheon. Today's police are constantly in the public eye and because of this the public are more aware of what actually goes on within the police. In conclusion the Golden Age is a myth in British society as there is little evidence that it was better. (Wilson) Policing in the 1950s was different from what it is today but that is expected of anything in life, it cannot stay the same. The Golden age was based on blind faith and ignorance of what policing involved at a harmonious time. In today's age we are confronted with growing concerns of crime from terrorism to drug trafficking which have not been seen in such large scales in this century. Public attitudes to the police have changed and so have the attitudes of those that work in the police. Public confidence has declined due to the rising crime rates that have soared due to cultural, social and economic factors and the increase in reporting and scandals within the police, however the police are in a better state today than before. (Downes and Morgan in Maguire 2002). The Golden Age myth will continue and in fifty years time the Golden Age will be replaced with a new one that is constructed by law-abiding citizens of the police of today. ...read more.

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