This essay reviews the ‘35th anniversary edition’ of Policing the Crisis, the jointly-authored investigation into race, immigration, ‘mugging’ and the ‘crisis in hegemony’ of 1970s Britain. The new edition is demonstrative of the book's enduring influence, including amongst historians increasingly turning their attention towards the roots, development and reach of Thatcherism. This essay places the remarkably prescient conceptual interventions made in Policing in the context of the conditions in which it was produced. Drawing on the author's wider work on the history of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies—where the authors of Policing were based—it argues the book should also be read for the insight it provides into the development of cultural studies as a fledging field of inquiry. A broader re-engagement with the work of the so-called ‘Birmingham school’, it is suggested, offers one way of historians developing accounts of 1970s and 1980s Britain that are not overdetermined by the arrival of ‘Thatcherism’.