INTO THE NIGHT: A YEAR WITH THE POLICE is Matt’s account of working for two years as a special police constable in Lambeth, and explores the dissonance that inevitably developed between Matt’s two lives: by day, he was a trusted teacher at a Brixton primary school; by night, he was anonymised by a uniform that drew deep suspicion. At its heart, INTO THE NIGHT is an exploration of what it would mean to reframe policing as a caring, rather than enforcement, role, and a luminous portrait of South London – the epicentre of Britain’s struggle against racist policing, surfacing hidden histories of resistance and abuse. It featured in The Guardian last week, and was published by Picador on 18th May.
A former carer, primary school teacher and education researcher, Matt Lloyd-Rose became a volunteer police officer to try to understand the challenges facing young people in Brixton, the place he lived and taught. He got more than he bargained for. Each Friday evening, he put on the uniform and policed South London: racing through it on blue lights, patrolling its streets, entering a parallel version of a place he thought he knew.
Into the Night takes the reader on a journey to the heart of our society’s most complex and controversial institution, showing the best and worst of ordinary policing: from macho thrill-seeking and shocking misogyny to quiet moments of kindness and care. Its pages are filled with the homeless, the lonely, the sick and the angry, with teenage gang members, confused drunks, violent partners, runaway dogs and an illegal hot-dog vendor who won’t take no for an answer.
The details of Matt’s portrait of police work is astonishing: from fights in bookies and takeaways to the story of a teenage girl who was taken from her own home and held overnight for breaching her parole conditions. On the one hand, there’s the constant background rumble of gang wars; on the other, the shocking misogyny and racism that proliferates amongst the police force itself. Matt’s writing process started with him surreptitiously taking notes while on his night shifts, which he’d write up the next morning in Phoenix – the Brixton café that became the portal between his policing and his teaching lives. Matt then layered in the research he’d conducted into the area’s Black British community, who are so often the victims of police brutality, along with his research into policing theory and criminology. Matt is represented by Patrick Walsh at PEW Literary Agency.