University of Northampton lecturer shares knowledge of Doncaster police force in new book

Date 11.03.2016

John Brown, Senior Lecturer in Police and Criminal Justice Studies, will have his first book published by Troubadour later this month.

Originally from Doncaster, John is a retired police inspector who worked for 33 years in Lincolnshire and the West Midlands forces. His book, ‘The Obedient Servant’, remembers the time (between 1836-1968) when the small town of Doncaster had its own local police force.

John explained his interest in the force: “During my teens I made up my mind to join the police service in Doncaster as a cadet. I wrote to the then chief constable who replied with a very kind letter informing me that the Doncaster force was about to be amalgamated with the surrounding West Riding of Yorkshire Police (1968), and would therefore lose its own identity. He went on to say that he had been instructed by the Home Office not to appoint any new members to the force.

“As a result I returned to my studies at grammar school but two years later I saw a recruiting caravan in Doncaster for the Lincolnshire police. I went in, and as a result joined that force serving for 12 years and then moved to Birmingham and completed a further 21 years’ service. However I have always retained an interest in Doncaster borough police and always wanted to research the history of this very proud force. As a result about four years ago I started my research and found it fascinating. It meant travelling to and from Doncaster from my home in Solihull, and I spent hours reading every council watch committee set of minutes between 1836 and 1968. It also meant trawling through the local press from about 1820 onwards and interviewing surviving members of the force who are mainly in their 80s. The oldest of these retired officers is 92 years old and is a real character with a great memory for names and places. I have developed many friendships with the former officers and try to keep in contact as much as I can.”

The Obedient Servant front coverJohn’s book has generated much local interest. “I have delivered two presentations to the National Association of Retired Police Officers in Doncaster, and I have been asked to return to the Doncaster heritage week in May for a further talk on the force,” John explained. “I have gained tremendous satisfaction from my project and I hope that I have delivered something which those former members of Doncaster borough police can relate to and be proud of.”


‘The Obedient Servant’ will be published by Troubador on 28 March.