The main historic records of the criminal justice system can be found in the National Archives and local record offices.

The National Archives (TNA) holds the records of:

The National Archives holds a huge range of records available, many of which are also now digitised and available from www.findmypast.co.uk.

The best way to explore what is available at TNA is by using their excellent online guides. For example: Criminals and Convicts, Criminal Trials in the Assize Courts, 1559-1971 and Police.

Local Record Offices also hold some criminal justice and policing records. For example, these include

  • local and regional police and constabulary archives
  • records of the court (Assize, Quarter Sessions, Petty Sessions or Magistrates court)
  • local prison archives and reformatory and industrial school archives.

Survival and access can vary from archive to archive. Many record offices have excellent online information online (for example, the West Yorkshire Archives Service and the East Riding Archives Service).

Before you visit an archive make sure you read the guidance on the website. Many allow you to register and even order in advance, so it is worth doing some initial preparation before you go. Archive staff are usually happy to answer questions although you are advised to contact them in advance of your visit, especially for more complicated queries (see the Researching Here section for getting started at TNA).

Latest Updates on Twitter

Really hope ⁦@CityPolice⁩ make the right decision over the precious City of London Police Museum. These museums have so much to offer their forces ⁦@PoliceChiefs⁩ https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/city-of-london-police-museum-risks-staying-closed-b1016904.html

It's GREAT to have another wonderful prison museum featured in our #CollectionoftheMonth. This time it's Dartmoor Prison Museum which tells the story of the infamous convict establishment. Find out more at https://www.capcollections.org.uk/home/cap-collections-of-the-month/

Roy Hackett was a civil rights hero – everyone in Britain should know his name | Olivette Otele https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/aug/03/roy-hackett-civil-rights-hero-britain-bristol-bus-boycott?CMP=share_btn_tw

Did you know that we also have dedicated World War I and World War II areas within Glenside Hospital Museum?

We’re open today for visitors from 10-1pm. No need to book tickets, we have space! 😊

#heritageisopen #bristol #bristolmuseums

📣 Our latest Archives e-newsletter dropped into subscribers' inboxes this week ➡️ https://orlo.uk/BoEjt
In this issue we look at a vengeful poem, a scrapbook donation relating to the Holmes family of Nunburnholme, the renowned tightrope dancers Nicolo & Antonio Plege, & more!

It’s Medieval Mayhem at the Museums Quarter this weekend!

Here’s what to expect… https://www.hcandl.co.uk/medieval-mayhem
#ACEsupported (1/10)

This image is shocking. Even more so next to an image of a Wandsworth prison cell from the late 1850s👇. The hand crank has gone, but little else has changed. As Dostoevsky famously wrote: 'The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.' https://twitter.com/robroballen/status/1552908625013874691