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Title: Striving to preserve the peace! : the National Council for Civil Liberties, the Metropolitan Police and the dynamics of disorder in Inter-War Britain
Author: Clark, Janet
ISNI:       0000 0001 2423 6278
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis re-examines the policing of political activism in 1930s London. It was a period of struggle between political extremes that provoked some of the most violent disorder on London's streets in the history of the Metropolitan Police. This thesis explores the emergence of the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) and its role in the context of the policing of political disorder in the period. The early chapters consider current historiography and the background to policing policies and operational techniques that led to a view of policing as partisan and tolerant of right wing (fascist) violence. The political events and chance involvement of the press that led to the formation of the NCCL are examined together with the prominent and influential support that emerged for a civil liberties movement. It is argued that the authorities regarded the NCCL as a product of the radical left but, at the same time, the organisation attracted wide popular support for its aims and the backing of the liberal press and in parliament. Chapters five and six show that the Home Secretary became progressively more concerned about the public order policing operation in the capital as police powers and political activism increasingly became the focus of the NCCL's campaign through 1935 and 1936. In chapter seven the discussion of the implementation of the Public Order Act 1936 illustrates the resultant tensions between the Commissioner and the Home Secretary. Finally it is argued that the NCCL achieved wide recognition as an important pressure group with established influence in parliament despite the finely balanced position it occupied in the political spectrum. It is concluded that the NCCL played a much more active and influential role in the policing of political disorder in the 1930s than has previously been acknowledged and thus an important aspect of the debate has been neglected.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral