At the end of the line

Colonial policing and the imperial endgame 1945-80

By Georgina Sinclair

At the end of the line


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7139-3
  • Pages: 264
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £18.99
  • Published Date: June 2010
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Police & Security Services, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Law Enforcement, Colonialism & imperialism, European history, United Kingdom, Great Britain, History, Modern History
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


Colonial policing and the imperial endgame is the first comprehensive study of the colonial police and their complex role within Britain's long and turbulent process of decolonisation, a time characterised by political upheaval and colonial conflict.

The Colonial Police Service was created in 1936 in order to standardise all imperial police forces and mould colonial policing to the British model. From the British Caribbean to the Middle East, the Mediterranean to British Colonial Africa and on to Southeast Asia, colonial police forces struggled with the unrest and conflict that stemmed from Britain's withdrawal from its empire. As the shadow of decolonisation grew ever longer, so colonial police forces reverted back to their traditional role as a colony's first line of defence. At the same time, as tensions increased throughout the empire, so too did the power of the police through the development of police intelligence systems and counter-insurgency units. Colonial policing and the imperial endgame controversially asserts that it was coercion rather than consent which was more commonly associated with the work of police forces during this period of political dislocation.

Georgina Sinclair's focussed study of colonial policing during this period facilitates a greater understanding of the processes of decolonisation.


1. Towards an understanding of colonial policing: exploring policing models
2. Transferring policing models: Irish and English influences in Canada
3. 'Too little, too late': Post-war reforms within the Colonial Police Service
4. Policing the British Caribbean
5. Policing colonial conflict in the Mediterranean and the Middle East
6. Policing conflict in British colonial Africa
7. Policing colonial conflict in Southeast Asia
8. 'Political policing?' Pawns in the imperial endgame
9. Remnants of empire
Select Bibliography


Georgina Sinclair is Research Associate in the European Centre for the Study of Policing at The Open University

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