Keeping the Piece: Policing by Principle in Terry Pratchett's Night Watch
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In Terry Pratchett’s novel Night Watch, Sam Vimes, a police commander, travels back in time, tasked with training his younger self and keeping the peace as revolution mounts. This thesis examines Vimes’ philosophies and actions to determine how the novel may translate to a call for police reform in Pratchett’s real-world homeland, contemporary Britain. To this end, I use as my guide the Peelian principles, nine statements regarding police duties that influence Britain’s practice of policing by consent; many of these principles overlap with Vimes’ own police and social theories. By examining the novel’s place within its dominant genres, the characterisation of its protagonist and moral centre, and its events as they unfold, this thesis argues that, in depicting Vimes’ success at keeping the peace while fighting the othering forces of classism and police corruption, Pratchett calls for greater prominence to be given to the Peelian principles in contemporary policing.