Police Powers: Law in the Books
If it is law, it will be found in our books. If it is not to be found
there, it is not law.1
If you know what you are doing, if you know the law well enough
. . . you can make it do wonderful and marvellous things.2
This Chapter is concerned with the nature of police powers in England and Australia. The focus is not on specific powers (although some are discussed as examples) but rather on 'police powers' as a concept. Issues discussed include the origins and development of police powers, the relationship between powers and duties, the role of powers in policing practices, the legal concept of police powers, and the utility of changing police powers in response to concerns about crime and disorder. The argument running through what follows is that police powers cannot usefully be considered in legalistic isolation. What a power means is usually defined (at least in part) by how it is used. In this sense, police powers and policing practices cannot be clearly distinguished.
There is difficulty in separating the history of police powers from the broader history of the police, especially when (as in Australia) historians have only recently begun to concern themselves seriously with police history. Sections i to iv discuss police powers, and focus on their relationship to the reorganization of policing in England and Australia, in the first half of the nineteenth century.____________________