Thursday, 5 April 2012

Blackstone's Books and Police Manuals

Blackstone's Books are the leading authority on police law and operational guides covering everything from recruitment advice to specialist topic areas like going to court, dealing with the proceeds of crime or vulnerable and child witnesses as well as study aids for promotional exams like the Sergeant and inspectors, PACE and OSPRE exams.

Blackstone's books are the specialist arm of Oxford University Press company.  The first book was printed in Oxford in 1478, just two years after Caxton set up the first printing press in England. The University was involved with several printers in Oxford over the next century, although there was no formal university press.
In 1586 the University of Oxford's right to print books was recognised in a decree from the Star Chamber. This was enhanced in the Great Charter secured by Archbishop Laud from King Charles I, which entitled the University to print 'all manner of books'.  Other than the Blackstones Books legal range Oxford University press (or OUP) for short is most famous for the Oxford English Dictionary.

It was from William Blackstone that the Blacstones legal books derive their name.  William Blackstone was an undergraduate at Oxford University and was made famous by his writing of the Commentaries on the Laws of England.  Academics have said that the Commentaries were crucial in changing English Law from a system based on actions to a system of substantive law.[101] At the time of publication, the common law of England was still, in some ways, in its infancy, with people uncertain as to what the law was. The Commentaries helped to solidify legal thinking.[102] At the same time, legal education had stalled, and Blackstone's work gave the Law "at least a veneer of scholarly respectability".[1] William Searle Holdsworth, one of Blackstone's successors as Vinerian Professor, argued that "if the Commentaries had not been written when they were written, I think it very doubtful that [the United States], and other English speaking countries would have so universally adopted the [common] law".

Some of the most popular blackstones books are the operational handbooks, now available in two main flavours, "Law" and "Practise and Procedure".  Both books are handy pocket sized publications which provide easy reference when patrolling the beat or back at the station.  Similarly the more specific "Handbook for the Special Constabulary" is a very popular pocket sized guide with plenty of detailed yet easy to digest information packed inside.

For those more advanced learning requirements the Four Volume Set of Q&A's and the Police Manuals provide as much detail as any officer would normally need and make for a more intensive at home study aid than a portable reference guide.

Blackstones main book publication rival was Janes Police Books which sadly closed its production and publishing operation in November 2011, including the popular Janes Police Review and Police Product Review. Many of the staff from Janes Police Product Review have formed a team to produce a new publication; Police Product Insight.

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