15 NOVEMBER 1935, Page 32

THE ENGLISH POLICEMAN: 871-1935 By Alwyn Solmes In these days

the average citizen is , less inclined than in previous generations to take the policeman for granted, He has become aware that police responsibilities have been largely extended and that a new type of " bobby " has come into existence. He wants • -1.o• know more of the various branches of the service. Not infrequently he wonders whether it is a career worth considering' for himself or his son. This book (Allen and Unwin, 7s. ad.) is essentially a history of the English policing system, and it is indeed unfortunate that the author should have devoted two-thirds of the contents to the historical aspect, allowing far too little room for information as to the present-day police functions. The story of mediaeval and pre-Peel attempts to preserve the peace in the metropolis and elsewhere has been told before, and has little relevance to contemporary police problems. The author writes as an, amateur, but that should have made it possible to discuss freely, for 'example, the new Police College. It is admittedly too soon to judge' by results, as the first batch of trainees have 'only just passed out of Hendon. But the criticisms which were raised two years ago in regard. to the College supply sufficient material for comment. The author has not forgotten the provincial policeman, and the • cities of Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol rightly are given • special mention. But if the object of the book is to enable the layman to gain a general idea of police work and problems, more should have been said of the efforts now being made to improve the machinery for scientific investigations, a development 'in which the British police have been accused of being less well equipped than some of their continental canfreres. No mention, again, is made of the serious difficul- ties which confront the police as a result of recent traffic legislation and the increase of road traffic, difficulties which have not been removed, as the author seems to suggest, by the introduction of automatic traffic signals. The value Of this readable little book would, in fact, have been considerably enhanced had the ancient history been confined to a single chapter.