Mary FraserMay 26, 2020
Policing the Home Front, 1914-1918
The Control of the British Population at War
When Britain went to war in 1914, policemen throughout Great Britain found themselves called upon to perform an ever-increasing range of new tasks that reflected the expanded power of the British state in wartime. In Policing the Home Front, 1914-1918: The Control of the British Population at War (Routledge, 2018), Mary Fraser details the challenges these officers faced and how they worked to carry out their increased responsibilities in straitened circumstances. As Fraser notes, the war imposed new burdens upon the police from the start, as many men quit their posts in order to enlist in the armed forces. To compensate for their absence, auxiliaries were enlisted and women found themselves employed in policing for the first time. These officers were needed as the police were expected to perform a number of new duties, from the administration of wartime separation allowances to dealing with the expanded problems of prostitution, alcohol regulation and youth crime, many of which reflected an expectation by the government that the police could fill much of the void created by the absence of so many men who were serving at the front.