Saturday, April 06, 2013

Policing the Nation: an Exhibition about the History of Policing in Scotland

From the Curator of Museum Services, University of Dundee :

Now on show in the Lamb Gallery at the University of Dundee, this exhibition of photographs and artefacts relating to the history of Scottish policing is drawn from collections across the country. The exhibition will be officially launched on Wednesday 10 April with refreshments served in the gallery from 5.30pm followed by a series of short talks by members of the project research team in Baxter Room 1.36 at 6.30pm, organised in collaboration with the Abertay Historical Society.

Modern policing in Scotland dates from 1800, when a police force was established in Glasgow by Royal Assent - a whole generation before the more famous London Metropolitan Police Act of 1829.  Other parts of the country soon followed Glasgow’s lead and established their own forces - for example, Edinburgh in 1804 and Dundee in 1824.  The Police Act (Scotland) of 1857 required all burghs to have their own force, and the whole of Scotland soon came to be served by local constabularies during the latter decades of the nineteenth century.  At one stage, there were over one hundred separate police forces in Scotland, but the number declined during the twentieth century as a result of amalgamations into larger forces.  In 1975 eight regional forces were created;  these in turn have been replaced by one single national authority - known as Police Scotland - at the beginning of April 2013.

As the organisational shape of Scottish policing enters a new era, the exhibition looks back at the development of Scottish policing during the last two hundred years, highlighting many of the reforms and innovations that were adopted in response to the constantly changing social, political and technological contexts of modern Scotland.

The exhibition features a range of documents, photographs and artefacts illustrating many aspects of Scottish policing since the nineteenth century, including:

uniforms and accessories
communications equipment
police transport
women in policing
training and professionalisation
detectives and criminal investigation
police enforcement techniques
the police in popular culture

In addition, a companion display in Baxter 1.36 looks at the police in comics, and features original comics artwork on loan from DC Thomson and Co Ltd and from the University's own collections. 

The exhibition is part of a project funded by a Royal Society of Edinburgh on the theme of Crime and Policing in Scotland: Past and Present. The project is a collaboration between the Scottish Institute for Policing Research and the School of Humanities, University of Dundee. The exhibition is hosted in the Lamb Gallery by Museum Services, University of Dundee and will be on show until 31 May.