Troubador The Obedient Servant

Released: 28/03/2016

ISBN: 9781785890383

Format: Paperback

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The Obedient Servant

Doncaster borough police 1836-1968


At a time when policing is undergoing significant changes, in particular the move to regional arrangements and the focus on international criminality, The Obedient Servant remembers the period when a relatively small town in the north of England had its own local police force. Doncaster Borough police was part of, and could not be separated from, the town and its community as it grew from a small market town to a major industrial borough. The Obedient Servant is about some of the people in that force, the style of policing influenced by a powerful watch committee, and how the town managed to fight off the constant attempts by central government to amalgamate the Doncaster police with the surrounding West Riding of Yorkshire. The Obedient Servant also focuses on how the force was involved with vagrancy and the administration of the Poor Laws and Union workhouses, and the danger of assault faced by the Victorian policemen who could not call upon limitless resources to support them in a confrontation. As the town grew in size, the force had to deal with militant suffragettes, and it also provided many of its officers to the armed services in both World Wars. The police force’s problems continued to grow, and from the early 1950s onward it became apparent that the town could not sustain its own police force for much longer. In 1968, after 132 years, the Doncaster Borough police became part of the new West Yorkshire police. This fascinating story of the Doncaster Borough police force will particularly appeal to those interested in police history, as well as those familiar with that part of South Yorkshire.

John has written an enthralling and insightful book into the history of Doncaster and its Police force from 1805, well before the formal inception of the Borough Police (later a County Borough) and then from its formal inception in 1838, through to its demise in 1968, when it was amalgamated into the West Yorkshire Constabulary (and later into the South Yorkshire Police, of which the borough is still a part.).

John has uncovered some wonderful anecdotes, showing the sometimes hectic, and very occasionally troublesome, early years of the force.

As a former Doncaster Borough Officer (1966 - 68 only), I strongly recommend this book to former colleagues, and indeed, to anyone interested in the history of Doncaster. A 'must read' book - well done, John!

by Jeff Vernon (Treasurer of Doncaster NARPO)

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