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Describe law and order in London in the late nineteenth century

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Describe law and order in London in the late nineteenth century The nineteenth century saw the creation and extension of many new police forces within London. In 1800 there were two main police forces in Britain. The bow street runners had been operating since 1749, and the Thames River police had been set up in 1788. In 1829 Victorian London saw the founding of the Metropolitan police force. Before the creation of the Metropolitan police the towns of Britain were looked after by watchmen and parish constables. Little is known about these men. Special constables were also appointed in Victorian Britain. They were not very affective as they could not deal with big disturbance or riots, which happened frequently in Britain. The founder of the new Metropolitan police force, Sir Robert Peel, was the British home secretary and his police force still exists in modern day London. Robert Peel also gave officers there more informal names 'Bobbies' as we call them now, or 'Peelers'. The Metropolitan police headquarters remains till this day at 4 Whitehall Place. Once the land of Scottish kings the headquarters was suitably name 'Scotland Yard'. The Metropolitan police force was destined to fail with its minute force compared to the 1.5 million population of London. Before the Metropolitan police the only forces which successfully kept the streets of London under-control to an extent were under-cover spies, informers and the British army. ...read more.


The blue uniform resembled that of the British Navy and therefore resembled the heroic acts of the Navy itself. This colour was chosen for all the Metropolitan police uniforms. The 'Bobbies' also carried round a truncheon; a whistle to attract attention, and constables carried a cut glass. They were also issued with a top-hat which was later changed to a helmet to protect the constable's head. The use of firearms was not prohibited in the early stages of the police forces work. By the 1840's, inspectors began to carry revolvers as the crime rate increased dramatically within London. London in the nineteenth century has some similarities to nowadays London. The west-end was occupied by more aristocratic people, whereas the east-end and south London where occupied with the downtrodden, lower class citizens. The east end was probably the poorest place in London, with the most crime (as it still is today). In most of London, the 'Bobbie' was not seen as friendly. More police patrolled the more downtrodden areas and it was not uncommon for police officer to be attacked or even killed. In the second half of the nineteenth century crime did drop, however there was a steep rise in burglaries. In 1842 a new department of detectives were set up. They consisted of two inspectors and six sergeants. However work was not organised for them till the 1860 period. ...read more.


Garrotters where another breed of street vermin. A garrotter half-strangled their victim so that they were easier to rob. This crime was very common in London but it was only when a local MP, Hugh Pickleton, was garrotted, that something more was done to crack down on these menaces. The panic of this crime is very similar to the one we have around muggings today. Capital punishment was the most common was of punishing criminals in the nineteenth century. These executions were very poplar as mentioned and could attract over two thousand people. This punishment method was used till 1868 but still continued way into the 1960's. Imprisonment was also widely used. As they are today, prisons were very tough and many men didn't survive. A common way of punishing a prisoner was a 'Crank'. This contraption was a handle which had to be rotated a certain amount of times per day. Prison guard often tightened the crank to make it much harder to turn. Again many modern day punishments were used in prisons including solitary confinement and offshore shipment where prisoners were sent to New Zealand or Australian penal colonies, much like the infamous Guantanamo bay prison in Cuba. Overall crime and punishment in the late 19th century was failing miserably; however some newly introduced method were helping keep London under control. Crime rates did fall in the latter half of the nineteenth century and this shows that whereas the crime system was not entirely successful it still lowered the national figures of crime. ?? ?? ?? ?? Gary Cummins Candidate no. 1036 Centre no. 61121 ...read more.

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