The study of policing history has undergone a sea-change in recent years; no longer do we simply have ‘traditional’ teleological or linear accounts such as those offered by Reith or Howard, which largely ignored the centuries of policing history prior to the creation of the Metropolitan Police in 1829.1 The subject has benefited from the attention of historians who hold a wide spectrum of views ranging from traditional and revisionist to pluralist.2 This has led to a much wider understanding of the often complex issues involved in such research. Both macro-and micro-historical studies have been published, ranging from general overviews to histories of individual police forces, and while there has been an inevitable concentration on the situation within the metropolis, an increasing amount of research is now being focused on provincial policing.3