The National Council for Civil Liberties and the policing of interwar politics

At liberty to protest

By Janet Clark

The National Council for Civil Liberties and the policing of interwar politics

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8517-8
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £70.00
  • Published Date: May 2012
  • BIC Category: Constitution: government & the state, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / General, Society & social sciences / Constitution: government & the state, Politics, Political ideologies


Issues around the policing of public order and political expression are as topical today as in the past, and are likely to remain so in the future.

Janet Clark explores the origins of the National Council for Civil Liberties (the precursor to Liberty) that emerged in 1934 in protest at the policing of political extremes. The book deals with police attempts to discredit the NCCL and the use of intelligence to perpetuate a view of the organisation as a front for the Communist Party. It also examines the state and police responses to this organised criticism of police powers.

This book is essential reading for students and lecturers studying British social history, the development of civil liberties and of policing in Britain, as well as anyone interested in this enduring topic. Included is a foreword by Clive Emsley, Emeritus Professor in History at the Open University, and widely regarded as the doyen of police history.


Janet Clark is a Visiting Research Fellow in the History Department at the Open University, and a member of the International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice


List of images
Chapter 1 Introduction and background debates
Chapter 2 Our precious liberties: disparate interests and common cause
Chapter 3 Political expression: people, parties and pressure groups
Chapter 4 Policemen, protesters and libertarians
Chapter 5 The NCCL in action: networks, methods and strategies
Chapter 6 Beyond the legitimate province of a policeman: Fascists, anti-fascism and new police powers
Chapter 7 Police powers and politics: police and Home Office responses
Chapter 8 The NCCL: recognition and regime change
Chapter 9 Conclusion
Appendix A: Biographical information
Appendix B: Extracts from the Public Order Act 1936

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