Keeping up appearances: Police Rhetoric, Public Trust and "Police Scandal" in London and Berlin, 1880-1914

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    Abstract

    This article is about public trust in the police, how to maintain it and how to challenge it. The study compares responses by police and government authorities in London and Berlin to complaints over police malpractice from the 1880s to 1914. How did the London Metroploitan police manage to maintain a good reputation and high levels of public trust despite ample evidence of widespread police malpractice? The analysis identifies a number of factors in the handling of complaints and responses to allegations of malpractice that helped to re-establish and sometimes strengthen trust in the Metropolitan police. By contrast, the case of Berlin shows how insensitive and dismissive reactions to legitimate public concerns over police malpractice undermined attempts to improve public confidence in the police. This made the Schutzmannschaft far more vulnerable than the London Metropolitan policefor the critics and the press to generate public outrage and construct "police scandals" for their own political and commercial ends.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)59-83
    Number of pages25
    JournalCrime, History & Societies
    Volume15
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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