Based on interviews with former police officers, this book addresses two main issues. Firstly, the question of how the police themselves viewed the priorities of the job and what they considered their role to be. This is the first study to consider this question and its implications for the style and content of police work. Secondly, it challenges the view of the prewar period as a "Golden Age", and shows that policing from the 1930s to the 1960s was not as unproblematic as has often been assumed. Police violence and the fabrication of evidence were more prevalent than the cosy image of the British TV series Dixon of Dock Green would have us believe. The fact that this image often went unchallenged has much to do with prevailing concepts of masculinity and with the greater moral certitude of the police within a more stable and stratified society.