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From menace to celebrity: the English police detective and the press, c.1842–1914



Surveying the changing image of the police detective from the inception of detective departments in the new police in the mid Victorian era through to its formative period in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is vital to our understanding of how the system of crime control was perceived at the time. Initially, the notion of undercover policing was widely rejected. By the eve of the First World War, however, police detectives, especially at Scotland Yard, enjoyed an almost heroic reputation. In the belief that the press was the most significant factor in shaping the dominant view on police detectives during this crucial period, this article examines their changing image as reflected in newspapers and periodicals, and the role played by the press in this metamorphosis.

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