English «Bobby» Versus Russian Policeman (English Police in the 19th – Early 20th Century Russian Public Opinion)

English «Bobby» Versus Russian Policeman (English Police in the 19th – Early 20th Century Russian Public Opinion)

Borisov A.V.

Cand. Sci. (Law), Assoc. Prof., Department of State Legal Subjects, Academy of Management of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, Moscow, Russia.

Vazhenina I.V.

Senior Lecturer, Department of Organization of the Activities of the Internal Affairs Bodies of the Center for Command-StaffTraining, Academy of Management of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, Moscow, Russia. irina-mew@mail.ru

ID of the Article:

For citation:

Borisov A.V., Vazhenina I.V. English «Bobby» Versus Russian Policeman (English Police in the 19th – Early 20th Century Russian Public Opinion). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 6. P. 103-113


Problems of people’s attitude towards the police existed and exist in all countries with a different degree of intensity. This article provides an overview of the history of the 19th – early 20th centuries English police. The main attention was paid to the measures taken by the government and the society to improve the police activities and reputation of its officers. It has shown, that a high level of credibility of the British as well as foreigners to the British police despite a rather high crime rate and low crime detection is largely due to longstanding endeavors of the state, police chiefs as well as public and literature figures in increasing the reputation of the police among the public. For the first time in the Russian and English scholarly literature, this article analyzes the views of Russian public figures, writers, journalists, administrators and the police on the organization and activities of the police in England, and people’s attitude towards the police. It is concluded that the frequent comparison in the liberal discourse of the Russian police with the English was aimed not so much at comparing them objectively as at veiled criticism of the existing political system in Russia. For the Russian pre-revolutionary society, England was an idealized example of a country where the bureaucracy in general and the police in particular do not stand above society and do not interfere with its life and development.

Russian Empire; Great Britain; police; public opinion; Russian society


Abakumov O.Yu. (2017) Third Department on Guard of Morality and Deanery. Moscow: Tsentrpolygraf. (In Russ.)

Ackroyd P. (2016) London: The Biography. Moscow: Alpina Publisher. (In Russ.)

Borisov A.V. (2018) Political Elites of the Russian Empire and the Problems of Police Reform in the Early Twentieth Century. In: Nizhnik N.S. (ed.) Russian Police: Three Centuries of Service to the Fatherland (Proceedings of the Anniversary International Scientific Conference Dedicated to the 300th Anniversary of the Russian Police). St. Petersburg: S.-Peterburgsk. un-t MVD Rossii: 561–568. (In Russ.)

Borisov A.V. (2010) The Police and the Russian Militia in Public Opinion Mid-18th century – October 1917. Moscow: Akademiya upravleniya MVD Rossii. (In Russ.)

Borisov A., Malygin A., Mulukaev R. (2013) Police of the Russian Empire. Moscow: UNITY-DANA; Zakon i pravo. (In Russ.)

Chernov S. (2007) Baker Street and Surroundings. Moscow: Forum. (In Russ.)

Johnson B. (2016) Johnson's Life of London: The People Who Made the City that Made the World. St. Petersburg: Azbuka SPb. (In Russ.)

Joyce P. (2011) Policing – Development and Contemporary Practice. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Makashin S.A. (1972) Saltykov-Shchedrin at the Turn of 1850–1860. Moscow: Khudozh. lit. (In Russ.)

Miall A., Milsted D. (2017) The Xenophobe's Guide to the English. Moscow: Alpina Publisher. (In Russ.)

Morrell K., Bradford B. (2018) Policing and Public Management: Governance, Vices and Virtues. London: Routledge.

Ortega y Gasset J. (2005) The Revolt of the Masses. Moscow: AST. (In Russ.)

Rawlings P. (2008) Policing before the Police. In: Newburn T. (ed.) Handbook of Policing. 2nd ed. Cullompton, UK: Willan Publishing.

Rogers P. (1984) Henry Fielding: A Biography. Moscow: Raduga. (In Russ.)

Stepnyak-Kravchinsky S.M. (1965) Russia under the Tsars. Moscow: Mysl'. (In Russ.)

Tarnovsky E.N. (1909) Crime Movement in the Russian Empire in 1899–1908. Zhurnal ministerstva yustitsii [Journal of the Ministry of Justice]. No. 9: 52–99. (In Russ.)

Tipalo E.E. (2011) The Public Chamber of the Russian Federation as an Institute of Civil Society. Abstract of Cand. Sci. (Sociol.) Dissertation: 22.00.04. Rostov-on-Don. (In Russ.)

Tot Yu.V. (2002) Reform of the County Police in Russian Government Policy in the 19th Century. St. Petersburg: Obrazovanie – kul'tura. (In Russ.)

Zvonareva A.Yu. (2014) Public Control over the Internal Affairs Agencies Activities. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta MVD Rossii [Vestnik of Moscow University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia]. No. 9: 224–226. (In Russ.)

Content No 6, 2020