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This article explores the nature and causes of police violence in Condominium Sudan. It contends that rather than demonstrating the sheer strength of the British colonial state and its distance from Sudanese society, police violence provided evidence of its weakness, its limited technical capacity, and its general social porosity. The British administration was unable or unwilling to develop a systematically regulated and heavily institutionalized police force, and thus struggled to prevent the police being manipulated to serve the interests of particular ethnic, religious, or political factions. The technical fragility and limited resources of the police also placed them in a position where they were forced to employ immediate and physical forms of coercion rather than more pervasive and indirect ones.