Having worked my way through a considerable amount of my late dad’s ephemera, this (presumably now no longer restricted) Police Manual of Home Defence is easily the most unsettling item I’ve come across.
Printed by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office in 1974 it states that “it is essential that every police officer should be familiar with the effects of nuclear weapons, the organisation of the emergency services, the scheme of wartime regional government, the increased responsibilities of the police in war and the planning measures to be taken to enable forces to meet these new responsibilities” and as such goes on to say that “this manual has been compiled to that end”.
To be honest I’m glad that I never caught sight of the manual when I was younger because quite frankly it’s not the most reassuring of documents – although I suppose it was always going to difficult to detail a world suffering from the “effects of nuclear weapons” in anything other than a dispassionately grim manner.
That said whilst it fails in attempting to be even vaguely upbeat, the mundanity of the explanatory text on subjects such as the principles of radioactive decay, do show that even when faced with the end of the world as we knew it, we were intending to keep very calm and carry on.
I will at some point post scans of the entire document for those of you who, like me, find these kind of things endlessly fascinating – hopefully before the sound of a rising and falling note is broadcast by the BBC.
On a continuing theme it seems apposite to point you in the direction of the enormously cheery new Luke Haines record which I’m sure is going be this years feel good hit of the summer.
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