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Authority, accountability and representation: the United Provinces police and the dilemmas of the colonial policeman in British India, 1902–39



This article examines police administration and the experience of colonial policing in the villages and towns of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, one of the largest and most important regions of British India in the early twentieth century. During this time it was the inefficiency and weakness of the British in their policing methods, rather than the brutally effective use of the Indian Police Service, that fuelled resentment among the population of colonial India and led to widespread discontent among European and Indian officers and constables. Yet throughout this period, the police remained the most important link between Europeans and Indians, and were a frequent conduit for social exchange as well as a point of bitter conflict.