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Police-public relations in transition in Antwerp, 1840s-1914

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Abstract
This article examines how police-public relations have evolved during the nineteenth-century expansion of formal policing. Following recent critiques of the 'state monopolization thesis', it dismisses the idea of a 'policeman-state' progressively assuming dominion over the governance of crime, generating vicious antagonism between police and public, and effectively coercing the latter into obedience. In order to chart changes in police-public relations across the 'long' nineteenth century, the analysis draws on Antwerp police statistics from 1842 until 1913. It assumes that movements in different types of offences reflect the initiative of different actors and also constitute a valuable index of conflicts between police and public. The article argues that although police activity in Antwerp did significantly increase towards the end of the nineteenth century, priorities in crime control were not merely dictated from 'above' (the police and authorities) but also delivered from 'below' (the people). It shows how police interventions were shaped by shifting policy concerns, by the interests of different urban interest groups, and by the practical constraints of police work. Finally, it counters the idea of a repressive police disciplining a hostile public with evidence of growing public use of the police and of complex popular attitudes towards the 'blue locusts'.
Keywords
Policing, nineteenth century, police–public relations, statistics, twentieth century, CRIME

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Citation

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MLA
De Koster, Margo, et al. “Police-Public Relations in Transition in Antwerp, 1840s-1914.” EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY-REVUE EUROPEENNE D HISTOIRE, vol. 25, no. 1, 2018, pp. 147–65, doi:10.1080/13507486.2017.1327514.
APA
De Koster, M., Deruytter, B., & Vrints, A. (2018). Police-public relations in transition in Antwerp, 1840s-1914. EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY-REVUE EUROPEENNE D HISTOIRE, 25(1), 147–165. https://doi.org/10.1080/13507486.2017.1327514
Chicago author-date
De Koster, Margo, Barbara Deruytter, and Antoon Vrints. 2018. “Police-Public Relations in Transition in Antwerp, 1840s-1914.” EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY-REVUE EUROPEENNE D HISTOIRE 25 (1): 147–65. https://doi.org/10.1080/13507486.2017.1327514.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
De Koster, Margo, Barbara Deruytter, and Antoon Vrints. 2018. “Police-Public Relations in Transition in Antwerp, 1840s-1914.” EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY-REVUE EUROPEENNE D HISTOIRE 25 (1): 147–165. doi:10.1080/13507486.2017.1327514.
Vancouver
1.
De Koster M, Deruytter B, Vrints A. Police-public relations in transition in Antwerp, 1840s-1914. EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY-REVUE EUROPEENNE D HISTOIRE. 2018;25(1):147–65.
IEEE
[1]
M. De Koster, B. Deruytter, and A. Vrints, “Police-public relations in transition in Antwerp, 1840s-1914,” EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY-REVUE EUROPEENNE D HISTOIRE, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 147–165, 2018.
@article{8542517,
  abstract     = {{This article examines how police-public relations have evolved during the nineteenth-century expansion of formal policing. Following recent critiques of the 'state monopolization thesis', it dismisses the idea of a 'policeman-state' progressively assuming dominion over the governance of crime, generating vicious antagonism between police and public, and effectively coercing the latter into obedience. In order to chart changes in police-public relations across the 'long' nineteenth century, the analysis draws on Antwerp police statistics from 1842 until 1913. It assumes that movements in different types of offences reflect the initiative of different actors and also constitute a valuable index of conflicts between police and public. The article argues that although police activity in Antwerp did significantly increase towards the end of the nineteenth century, priorities in crime control were not merely dictated from 'above' (the police and authorities) but also delivered from 'below' (the people). It shows how police interventions were shaped by shifting policy concerns, by the interests of different urban interest groups, and by the practical constraints of police work. Finally, it counters the idea of a repressive police disciplining a hostile public with evidence of growing public use of the police and of complex popular attitudes towards the 'blue locusts'.}},
  author       = {{De Koster, Margo and Deruytter, Barbara and Vrints, Antoon}},
  issn         = {{1350-7486}},
  journal      = {{EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY-REVUE EUROPEENNE D HISTOIRE}},
  keywords     = {{Policing,nineteenth century,police–public relations,statistics,twentieth century,CRIME}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{1}},
  pages        = {{147--165}},
  title        = {{Police-public relations in transition in Antwerp, 1840s-1914}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13507486.2017.1327514}},
  volume       = {{25}},
  year         = {{2018}},
}

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