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Describe Law and Order in the Nineteenth Century.

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Introduction

Describe Law and Order in the Nineteenth Century. This essay will focus on law and order in the late nineteenth century. I will look at why Britain needed a police force, who set it up, and what it was like. I will also examine the developments the police made in the nineteenth century, and draw comparisons between the police in the 1800s and the police nowadays. In the nineteenth century London was an extremely different place to how it is now. There were very distinguished boundaries between the rich and the poor. Most upper class Londoners had no idea about the way that thousands of impoverished people lived in London. The East End was one of the poorest areas in England. The streets were packed with the poor and homeless, and criminals and prostitutes were everywhere. Pickpockets, some still only children, stole things from people's pockets and sold them just so they could feed themselves. Prostitutes were also a problem on the streets in the nineteenth century, although they were seen a normal thing to a lot of the people in the East End. The East End wasn't a particularly nice place to live at the beginning of the nineteenth century but it would gradually get better over the next century. In the early nineteenth century, before 1829, the vast majority of British towns and cities didn't have a police force. ...read more.

Middle

The new police force was also created to deal with big disturbances like riots, and they did a better job of it than the army ever did. The police constables were armed with batons and, in particularly rough areas, cutlasses. So, unlike the army, they had no firearms, which instantly made them more popular than the army ever was. The police were meant to seem very smart and with great authority, so their uniform was very important. The blue tailcoat and top hat was designed to be look simple yet smart. Some forces took so much pride in the appearance of their constables, that they made them wear their uniform even when they were off duty. But the effort to look smart wasn't really noticed by the public because they were more concerned about catching murderers, especially when the Ripper murders started! At first the new police system was greatly disliked by many people, this was partly due to the fact that the new police constables wore a red uniform. The original red uniform was thought too similar to that of the army, whom the public distrusted, so the uniform was changed to a blue tailcoat and a top hat. Their method of crowd control was another reason as to why the public disliked the police. Baton charges were a common crowd control tactic and often ended in death of both constables and civilians. ...read more.

Conclusion

Their main method was simply to follow suspicious characters, which was pretty much what the constables did. However, progress was made in forensic investigation towards the end of the late nineteenth century. Detectives learned the importance of collecting and examining evidence found at crime scenes. In 1816 matching the impressions found in mud with a labourer's trousers was how police solved a murder case. This was the starting point of forensic science. In 1884 another murder was solved using forensic science, this time by matching a piece of paper found in the victims wound to a piece of paper found in the pocket of John Toms. Significant changes in the law and order system were made in the nineteenth century. In the early nineteenth century there were no actual police forces and the relied on unofficial watchmen to catch criminals in the act, but by 1900 there was a police force in every county and borough in the country and major developments in crime solving had been made. The new police force solved many problems, including problems with riot control, and made huge leaps toward methods of crime solving that we use today. The nineteenth century was probably the most significant era in the development of law and order. With the events that took place in the 1800's our law and order system would be very different and no where near as efficient as it is today. Sarah Lowing 10C Mrs Rice-Jones ...read more.

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