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Brian Pearce

Not So Clever Dick

Book Reviews

Police. By John Coatman, C.I.E., Oxford University Press, 7s. 6d.

From Labour Review, Vol. 5 No. 1, February-March 1960, pages 32-36.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by D. Walters for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In 1934 the president of the students’ union at the London School of Economics was expelled from the college and, being an American citizen, forthwith deported from this country. The offence of this Communist student was that he had sold to others an issue of a certain journal which mentioned that colonial students were spied on and their political views reported, this job being looked after at L.S.E. by ‘a retired Indian policeman’. The director, that great Liberal Beveridge, had decided that this must refer to his Professor of Imperial Economic Relations, and banned the journal from the college precincts.

Professor Coatman has now written a little book about police work. It does no credit to the distinguished press which has published it. Reviewers elsewhere have drawn attention to the inaccuracies and the glossing over of controversial aspects. Characteristic of the author’s attitude are such passages as these: ‘The truth is that a certain asperity, or even mild aggressiveness on the part of the police is actually salutary at times, as the slapping of a hysterical person’s face, or a douche of cold water may be’. ‘Anything which weakens police morale is a national danger, and its prevention should be a primary consideration.’

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