policeLocal initiative, central oversight, provincial perspective: governing police forces in nineteenth-century Leeds by David Churchill

This article examines police administration as a branch of urban government, based on a case study of Leeds between 1815 and 1900. Making extensive use of local government and police records, it takes a longer-term view of ‘reform’ than most existing studies, and privileges the more routine aspects of everyday governance. It thus provides an original exploration of central-local government relations, as well as conflict and negotiation between distinct bodies of self-government within the locality. Previous studies have rightly emphasized that urban police governance was primarily a local responsibility, yet this article also stresses the influence of central state oversight and an extra-local, provincial perspective, both of which modified the grip of localism on nineteenth-century government.