In practice, as Weinberger demonstrates, the police were often pulled in contrary directions. In a tradition stretching back to the role of magistrates before the era of professional policing, local constabularies were sensitive to the complex political situation on the ground. As a result the police often found themselves holding the ring in which the interests of various groups had to be balanced. Although there were instances where a single industry dominated a locality and the employers could mount a sufficiently united front to exert direct influence over the local police, the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coalowners' Association being an example, there were many others where the situation was much less clear-cut. The Shipping Federation, for example, had less direct influence upon policing policy because it was opposed by other local interests in boroughs where waterfront strikes were rife. Often the prime concern of local tradesmen, shopkeepers, and politicians was towards conciliation and the avoidance of hard-line policing. But if local authorities sometimes had a vested interest in mediating police tactics they, like the employers, had to yield ground once the central government stepped in to oversee the management of major strikes. In spite of the success of trade unionists in obtaining legal protection for industrial action under the Trades Disputes Act of 1906, the determination of successive governments from the First World War not to be 'beaten' by the labour movement decisively tipped the balance towards the state. The Defence of the Realm Act and the Emergency Powers Act were used to increase the coercive power of the police over strikers in the post-war period, including the use of mass charges of unlawful assembly and, if necessary, a military presence to back up police action. In these major confrontations the influence of local authorities was overwhelmed by the higher national policy of government. In turn, chiefly because of the important role they had to play in policing major industrial disputes, the police ended up with improved pay and conditions of service, higher status, and greater independence in decision-making. In effect, Weinberger argues, the position was established which still holds where the decentralized character of the police could be overriden in 'crisis' situations. So long as the solution of de facto control during such crises functioned satisfactorily, there was no need to take the drastic and potentially controversial step of creating a national police force. Dr. Weinberger has valuably tracked the complex and evolving relationship of the police, labour, and local and central government. While some of her major findings have already been foreshadowed in the late Jane Morgan's more widely-focussed Conflict and Order: the Police and Labour Disputes in England and Wales, 1900-1939 (reviewed, ante, 14, 2, p.333), Weinberger's emphasis on the relationship of the police with their local communities makes it a valuable complement to the earlier study. It might be noted, however, that Weinberger lays greater emphasis on the first world war and its aftermath in marking the decisive extension of police competence. It might be argued that this underplays the extent to which pre-war Liberal governments and their civil servants had already prepared the ground and set the precedents for future action. Weinberger's emphasis upon the 'bullish' influence of Churchill's period as Home Secretary (February 1910-October 1911) may well