Police service in Victorian and Edwardian London: a somwhat atypical case of a hazardous occupation.

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British society in the nineteenth century showed a growing concern with public-health issues and with occupational hazards. Police service, which is at the centre of this paper, was not viewed by many as a hazardous occupation. Using the London Metropolitan Police as a case study, the paper suggests that working conditions in the Victorian and Edwardian police had detrimental effects on the health of officers. It is true that medical statistics of the time showed that police officers in London had a lower death rate than the average working man, but this comparison should not obscure the fact that policemen entered the force much healthier than when they retired and that this gap was not merely age-related. The paper sets out to answer the following questions: What were the prevalent injuries and illnesses in the Metropolitan Police? What was the work experience of the police officer and what impact did it have on his state of health? In addition to accounting for the deteriorating health of police officers, the paper provides the views of contemporary observers on the subject.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-80
Number of pages26
JournalMedizin, Gesellschaft, und Geschichte : Jahrbuch des Instituts für Geschichte der Medizin der Robert Bosch Stiftung
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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