Using a selection of wartime memorabilia, we reveal how the police force not only greatly expanded to meet the challenges of war, but also a huge spike in crime.
As has always been the case throughout history, not everyone adhered to the general ethos of the common effort. Those who had not cared for the sanctity of other people’s homes, shops and property before the war, didn't suddenly change their ways in September 1939. For the criminal minority, the war wasn’t about pulling together for the national good; on the contrary, some saw it as a great opportunity for illicit rich pickings. Indeed, recorded crime rose by 57%, from 303,771 offences in 1939 to 478,000 in 1945.