This 50-minute docudrama presented by Professor Kim Stevenson comprises a series of biographical reconstructions and dramatisations with expert analysis from legal historian Dr Judith Rowbotham. After the screening, Craig Newbery-Jones led an audience discussion with a selected panel to compare-and-contrast modern and historical policing issues which was recorded and transcribed as an additional Timelock production.
Born in Liverpool to the son of a landlord, Sowerby was brought up in Leeds where he rapidly rose through the ranks of the Leeds City Police receiving commendations for heroic rescues and arrests. Selected to head the Plymouth police force in 1892, Sowerby (29) was one of the youngest ever chief constables appointed nationally. During his tenure at Plymouth, he earned the respect of the local populace by effectively tackling drunkenness, crime and bad behaviour head on. Sowerby’s long career with Plymouth was synonymous with several significant and high-profile events including the arrest of Mrs Pankhurst, temperance marches and campaigns.
This broadcast quality biographical production depicts the life and times of uncelebrated Plymouth hero, Chief Constable Joseph Sowerby. Research conducted for previous ESRC festivals (2015, 2016) revealed the importance of Sowerby’s contribution to modern policing strategies.
The film is produced by Rob Giles with contributions from Judith Rowbotham, Craig Newbury-Jones and Iain Channing. It is presented by Professor Kim Stevenson.