Richard Hawkins
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The ‘Irish model’ and the empire
A case for reassessment
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To evaluate the precise role of the 'Irish model' in colonial police forces is at present probably beyond the powers of any one scholar. The North West Mounted Police may have resembled the Irish constabulary in being armed and government-controlled, but the disparities in equipment, structure, operating conditions, purpose and relationship to society are so marked that 'model' is hardly applicable. In any assessment of the 'Irish model' the position of India is crucial: the system established by the Indian Police Act of 1861 was the dominant influence on police development in the Far East and British Africa. A full evaluation of the 'Irish model' may need to go beyond the context of Britain and its empire. As was generally recognised at the time of its development, the Irish constabulary was an example of a gendarmerie, a system common in continental Europe.

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Policing the empire

Government, Authority and Control, 1830–1940


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