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What institutional problems and social concerns were associated with the establishment and rise of the "new police"?

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Introduction

What institutional problems and social concerns were associated with the establishment and rise of the "new police"? The word, "Police" was derived from the Greek word "Polis", meaning city. (Met History) "The word "Police" means, generally, the arrangements made in all civilised countries to ensure that the inhabitants keep the peace and obey the law. The word also denotes the force of peace officers (or police) employed for this purpose". Before the eighteenth century, in English the word "Police", was used to refer, (Coleman et al 2000) "to the general governance and administrative regulation of the city. Thus the activity of policing embraced the whole range of functions necessary for maintenance of civic society", if this definition were to be used today it include the activities of tax inspector, environmental health officers and school crossing patrols. Only in the mid-eighteenth century that the word "police", (Coleman et al 2000) "began to be used, in its continental sense, to refer to the specific functions of crime prevention and order maintenance". In 1829 Sir Richard Mayne wrote, (Met History) "The primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime: the next that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed. To these ends all the efforts of police must be directed. The protection of life and property, the preservation of public tranquility, and the absence of crime, will alone prove whether those efforts have been successful and whether the objects for which the police were appointed have been attained." This essay is about the Police forces in England and Wales therefore Police forces in Scotland and Ireland will not be mentioned. Also this essay will give a brief history on Police in England and Wales and how the Police forces have come a long way from the Angelo Saxon times of rudimentary policing to the Bow Street patrols, to the rise and structured, "new police", and as the initial focus in this essay is about the social concerns and institutional problems ...read more.

Middle

There was urgency amongst parliament and the ruling class to solve, the problem of the increase of crime and disorder which was a threat to social stability, the problem of alcohol and debauchery that spilled out on to the streets of London from gin shops and ale houses, the problem of rioting that eventually if actions where not taken to control it, may have the same impact as the French revolution movement, amongst many other social concerns. Parliament and the ruling class needed something to be done. They needed a new system of Policing because there where problems with the old system for example, some Parish constables where inefficient and reluctant to act. The original response for the problem of alcohol and rioting was to improve the original keepers of the law by recruiting more patrol men. These patrol men where employed to patrol the streets and to patrol the gates, for example bishops gate in London, to provide access to people that paid there fees that had businesses in the city. Another response was to have a more organised set of Parish magistrates, one sort of group that emerged from this was a group called the bow street runners, established by Henry Fielding and his blind half-brother Sir John Fielding. The magistrate's office was based in Bow Street and (Maguire et al 2002) "became a model of how the trading justice might function". The Bow Street runners were professional thief-takers who traveled all over the country in search of criminals and profited from rewards for bringing in offenders to justice. (Met history) "The Bow Street Runners were the earliest form of detective force operating from the courts to enforce the decisions of magistrates". The original eight Bow Street Runners were London's first band of constable and where successful to an extent in controlling crime in London. However they were corrupt for example, taking money from organised crime. ...read more.

Conclusion

This began a new era of Home Office control over the police, this therefore meant instead of police forces around the country being under the influence of the local lords, local politician, local tax raising organisation, because of the emergency powers act (1919), the Home Office now exert control over the police. Police forces and constabularies reported directly to the Home Office this remains the case even to this day, this brought a more centralised and coordinated police force in England and Wales. However this brought another criticism and institutional problem. This is the idea that the police are agents of the government. People thought of the police as carrying out governments will. One example is the, "the miner' strike in the 1980s", they were employed to smash mining unions at the behest of Margaret Thatcher's conservative government. Many Police officers would not have agreed with the policies because they had to live in those communities and relied on the success of the mining community. However they were in a bloody battle with the miners. This was a historic moment in British history, it capsulated a criticism endured by the Police as an institution and organisation since the 1919 right through to the present day. In conclusion, this essay illustrates how the police in England and Wales have risen from the rudimentary officers of the law, to the rise of the new police, due to the social concerns in the eighteenth and nineteenth century of the increase of crime, the problem of alcohol, debauchery, rioting and etc. The rise of the new police has been a success because in a short period of time British policing leads the world in its structures and its ethos and successfully transforming urban centers by controlling and decreasing crime, alcoholism, debauchery, rioting and etc, to reasonably more secure and safe, and the police force we see today in England and Wales is the direct descended. Even though there have been institutional problems associated with the new police, modern police are much better due to the solving of these institutional problems. ...read more.

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