Policing the Nation

Policing the Nation

This exhibition of photographs and artefacts relating to the history of Scottish policing - drawn from collections all across the country - runs at the Lamb Gallery, University of Dundee, from 1 April to 31 May 2013.

A further selection of material is displayed concurrently at the Central Library, Dundee.

Admission at both locations is FREE.

Modern policing in Scotland dates from 1800, when a police force was established in Glasgow by Royal Assent -- a whole generation before the more famous London Metropolitan Police Act of 1829. Other parts of the country soon followed Glasgow’s lead and established their own forces -- for example, Edinburgh in 1804 and Dundee in 1824.

The Police Act (Scotland) of 1857 required all burghs to have their own force, and the whole of Scotland soon came to be served by local constabularies during the latter decades of the nineteenth century. At one stage, there were over one hundred separate police forces in Scotland, but the number declined during the twentieth century as a result of amalgamations into larger forces.

In 1975 eight regional forces were created, and these in turn were replaced by one single national authority -- known as Police Scotland -- at the beginning of April 2013.

As the organisational shape of Scottish policing enters a new era, the exhibition looks back at the development of Scottish policing during the last two hundred years, highlighting many of the reforms and innovations that were adopted in response to the constantly changing social, political and technological contexts of modern Scotland.

The exhibition features a range of documents, photographs and artefacts illustrating many aspects of Scottish policing since the nineteenth century, including:

  • uniforms and accessories
  • communications equipment
  • police transport
  • women in policing
  • training and professionalisation
  • detectives and criminal investigation
  • police enforcement techniques
  • the police and popular culture

The exhibition also features:

  • a section devoted to the portrayal of Scottish police in comics -- starring The Broons’ very own P.C. Murdoch!
  • a selection of old public information films about the police, including the work of the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan.

Central Library opening hours:

  • Monday - Tuesday: 9am - 6pm
  • Wednesday: 10am - 6pm
  • Thursday - Friday: 9am - 6pm
  • Saturday: 9.30am - 5pm
Tel: 01382 431500