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Describe law and order in the late 19th century

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1. Describe law and order in the late 19th century. The origins of the police force go back to Saxon times. However, the foundations of modern day British police forces were setup in the 19th century. The metropolitan police force was setup in 1828 by Robert Reed. In 1879, methods into dealing with murder cases had changed. These adjustments were made by Charles Vincent, director of Criminal Investigations. Such changes included that "the body must not be moved; nor nothing about it or the room or the place of discovery". Although these changes were revolutionary, they were equally useless. In a time before forensics and even fingerprinting, the only way of catching a murderer is seeing him do it or catch him doing it. As one can see, it would be quite hard to catch a murderer and many murder cases would be left unsolved, the Whitechapel murders included. ...read more.


The reputation of the police force was disintegrated by a series of events that made them out to be violence loving enforcers. Such incidents included the 1984 parade of Orangemen and Cumberland. This parade turned ugly when the police started beating people with batons. Another unpleasant occasion was the election demonstration in Nottingham. The result was the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Birmingham police charging the demonstrators. The report on the incident said: "the police disobeyed instructions as to the use of truncheons and behaved intemperately". These knockdowns did not help matters. On 13th of November 1987, the most serious incident took place: Bloody Sunday. The police stampeded a demonstration held by the Metropolitan Radical Federation. This incident instigated an inquiry, ordered by the House of Commons. The purpose of the investigation was to see if the police favoured the upper and middle classes over the lower and working classes. ...read more.


However, burglary rose sharply in the years 1875-95. This was because the police force was there for the prevention of crime, rather than detection. Detectives were not regarded as a policing priority by Chief constables. This was especially so in London as there were less detectives here than in most major cities such as Liverpool and Birmingham (as of 1885). Also training for detectives was very basic. This would mean that there would be a lot of murder investigations left unsolved, the Whitechapel murders included. Statistics showed that crime was indeed decreasing. The reason, however, may of not been of the metropolitan police force's doing. The reason may have been that people were becoming less poor and the inner city slums, where so much crime was taking place, were being rid of. In conclusion, yes the Metropolitan police were a key to decreasing the crime rates. In spite of this, the other, and more important key was social and area improvement. ...read more.

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