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By Eric J. Hobsbawm

BANDITS is a research of the social bandit or bandit-rebel - robbers and outlaws who're now not seemed by means of public opinion as uncomplicated criminals, yet quite as champions of social justice, as avengers or as primitive resistance warring parties. even if Balkan haiduks, Indian dacoits or Brazilian congaceiros, their surprising exploits were celebrated and preserved in tale and fantasy. a few are just be aware of to their fellow countrymen; others like Rob Roy, Robin Hood and Jesse James are recognized during the global. First released in 1969, Bandits encouraged a brand new box of historic research: bandit heritage. This considerably prolonged and revised new version seems to be at a time whilst the disintegration of nation energy has reintroduced fertile stipulations for banditry once more to flourish in lots of components of the realm.

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There certainly was enough work for the new department. For example in 1879, its detectives made 4,862 arrests, 65 percent of which resulted in convictions. In that year, officers conducted 2,066 inquiries that did not require any arrest and travelled throughout the United Kingdom and to Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Italy and Spain in pursuing their investigations (Vincent cited in The Graphic, 1880, 4 September). Despite having no disciplinary power over his staff and being short of experienced lieutenants, Vincent reformed the department (a task made especially challenging by the Fenian outrages in London in the period), introducing new arrangements for supervision throughout the ranks.

53). 109). From 1883 to 1884, Vincent edited the Police Gazette;2 the first intelligence circular to transmit descriptions of wanted offenders, details of stolen property and the like. The Gazette has gone through many reviews and revisions but is still in circulation today. He was an innovator and unlike his predecessors did not disavow ‘continental’ methods. He favoured using informers and undercover operatives as agents provocateurs, though he was rightly wary of encouraging improper relationships between detectives and those from whom they sought information.

Basil Thomson held that view. He divided detectives into two classes, ‘the detective’ and ‘the thief-catcher’. 5). 5–6). Thomson’s words may appear patronizing and certainly are idealistic but they also reveal much about the attitude of senior officers in that period. Thief-catchers inhabited the criminal world but they could be trusted to ‘play by the rules’ – that is, by those informal, unwritten craft rules – and to get the job done. They earned the admiration and respect of the police elite and consequently they were afforded latitude (far more than any uniformed officer would ordinarily be allowed) in their methods of operation.

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