The Police Force Over the Ages. 1829 onwards.

About the development of the police over time, starting from the early 19th century.

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  • Created on: 02-01-11 13:19

The Police Force Over the Ages. 1829 onwards.

Cards about the police in Britain from 1829, when they were first established until the 20th century.

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Why were the Police Established?

  • The government were more involved in reforming and changing life in Britain. The long french war caused the government to raise money. Also, money from taxes helped pay for the police.
  • There was belief that crime, and violent crime especially, was increasing. The crime had risen sharply after the French wars due to increased poverty and unemployment.
  • There was a big fear of protest after the French Revolution. They thought that one may happen in Britain too. After 1815, there were many protests about unemployment and high food prices.
  • The rapid growth of towns made constables and watchmen seem inadequate. There were too many people crammed into closely packed houses on streets. This was particularly tricky in London.(
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Early 'Peelers'

Sir Robert Peel helped to created the first police force in London, which were called the 'Peelers' by the people.

They wore top hats, so that they looked taller and more intimidating. The hats were also used for protection, as they were very hard, it would protect their heads from damage. They could also be stood on top of.

The Peelers' uniform was blue rather than red because they didn't want to look like soldiers.

They attracted attention if they needed attention from other policemen by using a rattle, but they were very large and heavy, so they were later replaced by a whistle.

Pay for early policemen was quite low, so it attracted people that weren't up to standard. At first, the police force were a bit of a joke.

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Early Views of the Police 1829- 1850

People thought that policemen were more interested in drinking that protecting people from crime.

There are views of the early policemen as being ugly and threatening.

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Police 1850-1900

Favourable Views

Some people trusted the policemen as attentive helpful men and respected them. They have been favourably compared to soldiers and sailors. The policeman is seen as courageous.

Unfavourable Views

People thought that they were not dedicated to fighting crime, and would just walk by an incident. The criminals have been seen to mock and taunt the policemen as if they were blind and helpless.

Blows for the Police

Riots in London left the police weak and helpless, powerless against a mob of rioters. The army had to be called out to help the police. 1866

1868. There were Reform Riots in Hyde Park. After, the police were accused of being just like soldiers.


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Significant Dates

1829- Robert Peel set up the Police force in London. It had 3200 men.

1835- A new law said towns were allowed to set up their own police force.

1839- A law said that counties were allowed to set up their own police forces. The Bow Street Runners and other forces in London were amalgamated with the Metropoliton Police.

1842- The Metropolitan Police set up the first detective force.

1856- It became compulsory for all towns and counties to set up a police force.

1870- Police helmets were introduced.

1884- There were 39000 police in Britain.

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Why did the Crime Rate drop in the 2nd half of the

Improved conditions in prisons gave more of a chance of reforming prisoners.

A fairer system of punishment restored respect for the courts. Punishment was no longer a matter of chance.

The presence of the police deterred crime, particularly minor theft.

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Policing in the 20th Century

Changes to Policing

CCTV cameras, Women, Police college, Computer Records, Specialised Services (anti-terrorist, drugs), Communications (telephones, computers), Radios, Forensic Science.

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