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No Mean City: 1914 to 1950s

Everyday Life

Law and Order

By Alistair L Goldsmith

Glasgow City Chambers The police force in Glasgow was approaching a crisis that was only postponed by the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914. Low pay, long working hours, poor pension rights and a lack of representation in the event of internal grievance compounded the situation.

Police vans During the War reported crime fell considerably, possibly due to large numbers of men being in the forces. 386 left the police soon after war was declared. By 1918 there were over 700 vacancies in a force of just under 2,000 men. After police strikes in England and general industrial unrest, in 1920 a Committee under Lord Desborough demanded improved payment, working conditions and a Police Federation. However, further pay cuts were made during the 1930s which were restored by the outbreak of war in 1939.

City of Glasgow Police poster Between the Wars incidence of crime increased as did political activity with violent intent. Gang wars were a feature of this period as was the emergence of "Red Clydeside" and internecine religious feuding.

Baillieston ARP With the outbreak of war in 1939, considerable preparations had been made for Air Raid Precautions (ARP) and the establishment of auxiliary services. Again officers joined the Forces and recruitment was curtailed. 339 served in the Forces.

Postwar, robbery with violence increased and a mobile flying squad was formed as a response in 1952. Technology was refined with the introduction of a central receipt of information facility in 1957.

A stability of sorts had been established postwar, but by the late 1950s the attraction of the police in terms of pay and conditions was weakening in favour of the booming manufacturing industries.

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