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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. In the late nineteenth century, many developments in law and order were introduced to London and played a key role in the Victorian lifestyle. These changes resulted in a more efficient and effective organisation and law system. The idea of a police force had only just been in the nineteenth century and consequently organisation, methods and public confidence was bound to differ. Two police forces were in action in 1800, the Bow Street Runners and the Thames River police force. The Bow Street Runners were set up in 1749 by Henry Fielding and were basically an early form of today's criminal investigation department. The Bow Street Runners had three main aims, crime detection, Crime prevention and maintaining public confidence. These police officers had a big reputation and were feared by the majority of criminals. The Bow Street Runners were the earliest form of a detective force and operated from the courts to enforce the decisions of magistrates. ...read more.


More over, 75% of crimes were merely petty thefts and many of theses weren't even violent. 1829 brought the turning point in nineteenth century law and order. Sir Robert Peel, the Home Secretary, founded the Metropolitan Police Force in order to carry out the functions of both the watchmen and the special constables .The work of Fielding's shows that an organized force could reduce crime and therefore the Metropolitan Police Force were Britain's first Government created, controlled and funded police force and covered an area within a 7 mile radius from the centre of London. Their functions included lighting lamplights, calling out the time and watching for fire; their main duties were to deal with drunkenness, beggars, vagrants and prostitutes. The Metropolitan police were only armed with wooden truncheons and Constables given cutlasses, a type of sword, if there was any danger. However, from the 1840's and 1850's inspectors in the Metropolitan police began to carry revolvers at times. Peel's Police were paid a little 16 shillings whereas more people in other skillful jobs earnt a lot more so the police didn't attract a lot of intelligent officers and therefore lowering their public respect. ...read more.


However, it was not until the 1860's that detective work began to be organized. The methods of these detectives developed slowly. The police have learnt the value of footprints in the early part of the nineteenth century but since then little progress had been made. The standard method in detective work was to follow suspicious characters, who where mainly foreign or Jewish at the time. In 1892, the Alphonse Bertillon method of identification was adopted; this involved measuring parts of the human body on the theory that no two individuals would be exactly the same. Fingerprinting however, was not adopted until the early 20th century. Very little training for the police was received in the late nineteenth century and hours of duty could be as long as fourteen a day, seven days a week. In the 1880's the reputation of policing was hit very hard due to a number of serious incident and many methods of tackling and solving crimes that we now take for granted, were unknown and even very regular patrols could not stop a determined criminal as, for many Londoners, crime was the only way to receive money, food and a half decent way of living. ...read more.

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