‘Political policing?’
Pawns in the imperial endgame
in At the end of the line
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The concept of 'political policing' took on a more important role as colonial governments attempted to maintain control throughout the end stages of decolonisation. Political policing encouraged a closer surveillance of public organisations and prominent political figures ostensibly to ensure that appropriate individuals gained centre stage at independence. In this way, the colonial police became pawns in the imperial endgame. After 1948, policing procedures acquired a different momentum indicating that the very nature of the colonial state had changed. The Special Branch emerged as an alternative and additional source of information-gathering and processing, dedicated to the pursuit of political and security intelligence, once the domain of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Intelligence-gathering within the colonies seems to have muddled along until the onset of the Second World War, when a real opportunity for change and modernisation occurred.

At the end of the line

Colonial policing and the imperial endgame 1945–80

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