Policing poverty: destitution and police work 1880-1910

Wilson, Dean (2005) Policing poverty: destitution and police work 1880-1910. Australian Historical Studies, 36 (125). pp. 97-112. ISSN 1031-461X

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (1MB)


This paper examines the historical importance of police welfare functions. Historians have too often neglected this area of police work, which represented a crucial interface between local communities and the police institution throughout the nineteenth century. While American studies suggest there was a transformation in policing from class control to crime control, Australian evidence indicates an alternative trajectory in the evolving welfare role of police. Despite the growth of new professionals and agencies of government in the later nineteenth century, the police remained a vital conduit in relationships between the destitute and the State. This was largely due to the police organisation's unrivalled bureaucratic and archival capacity and its pervasive street presence. This ensured that, while police interactions with the poor became more bureaucratised and formalised, police retained a significant welfare role into the twentieth century.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Research Centres and Groups: Crime Research Centre
Depositing User: Dean Wilson
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2017 09:01
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2017 09:01
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/71754

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update