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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Law
  • Essay length: 876 words

Describe Law and Order in the late 19th Century

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Describe Law and Order in the late 19th Century Law and order began to improve in the late 19th Century after the CID was set up and that Polices Forces were springing up around Britain. In the 1880's, police forces in Britain were very much in their infancy. Almost all of the methods of tackling and solving crimes that we now take for granted were unknown. Police work was mostly concerned with the prevention of crime by officers on the beat. But even very regular patrols did not stop a determined criminal. The police forces had to deal with a range of crime and disorder ranging from petty theft to major public disturbances. The main duties of the Metropolitan Police Force were to deal with drunkenness, beggars, vagrants and prostitutes. The force also had to deal with major disturbances, and soon got the reputation for heavy handedness and violence, for example: in February 1886 the Metropolitan Police Force had to deal with a mass demonstration of Unemployed in Trafalgar Square, however this was not the most serious incident to occur.


However there were positive views, the famous magazine name "Punch" wrote: "The police are beginning to take that place that the soldiers and sailors used to occupy. In these happier days of peace, the blue coats, the defenders of order, are becoming the national favourites." This view is very one sided, but the key reference was to "defenders of order," which was how many upper class saw the police. Towards the end of the 19th century the Police Force was getting more advanced with the introduction of the police whistle, telegraphs and photographs. Another great advantage that the police had over the criminal offenders was the use of dogs especially bloodhounds as they have a very good sense of smell and they help to track the criminals down. Police Constables throughout the country received very little training. Before they went on the beat, most time was spent learning military drills. Inspections were based on parades rather than on police work.


The answer was to reform the police and to build more prisons; in 30 years 90 prisons were built. It was a massive building programme, costing millions of pounds. Before the prisons were changed around and made harder to live in many people purposely got caught doing something against the law to go to prison, because then it was a better place to live in rather than a dos house in Whitechaple. After the new prisons were introduced nobody wanted to live there as it became very harsh and led to solitude, isolation and labour. They realised that still criminals were re-offending so in the 1860's prison reform and rehabilitation was introduced. Around the 1860's id when the detective work began to be organised. In 1860 an inspector and sergeant were sent to investigate a murder in Wiltshire that created the same motive of the killer than a previous murder. In 1862 the police force and prisons were introduced with photographic material, they began taking pictures of the criminals in prison, they were then sent to Scotland Yard. In 1869 the Detective Department was created

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