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Describe Law And Order In Late 19th Century London

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London saw its first real Police Force, after years of using medieval Police Forces, in 1829. It was the beginning of the law and order we have today. In this essay I will describe London's law and order before and after the Metropolitan Force was introduced; the flaws of the Metropolitan Force; the techniques that it innovated and give hints of what the Force is like today.

Before the Metropolitan Police Force, Bow Street Runners, Thames River Police, parish constables and watchmen patrolled the streets of London. Not much is known about these officers but what we do know suggests that they were quite effective. Records say that they knew local offenders by first names and also knew other intimate details about the criminals. However, they were not able to control large masses of people. It was during their rein that London's law and order collapsed in 1780 during the Gordon riots- they were unable to control rioters that had broken into the Newgate prison and were about to rob The Bank of England when the mayor called in the Grenadier Guards.

Some argue that the Metropolitan Force revolutionized the law and order in late 19th century London but some think otherwise. They reduced crime rates that had been triggered by the ever raising numbers of unemployed citizens which resorted to pick-pocketing as a source of income. In addition to that the Metropolitan Police Force managed to do what the previous Police Forces had failed to do; they brought fear to people, they patrolled the streets with an iron grip and managed to control rioters.

On the other hand, the Metropolitan Police Force had major flaws. They are several reasons that back up the fact that the Force did not revolutions the Law and Order:

The working class despise the authorities so not many were willingly to join the Police Force; being an officer was also very, very unpopular. So to get men to join the Police Force government officials restored to going into taverns, offering men several pints if they agreed to join the Force. This tactic meant that the Police Force was made up of alcoholics who knew nothing about law and the justice system. Due to it's alcoholic Police officers the Met. Force was unreliable and dismissed it's officers after only four hours which is a meagre amount compared to the ten to twelve hours Police officers in 2006 work.

Another factor that contributes to the Police Force not improving London's law and order is: the Police officers didn't know how to behave at crime scenes. They allowed witness to enter scenes of murder which contaminated them, they themselves contaminated the scenes; they added their finger prints to objects which could have been used as evidence and allowed hair particles, skin cells, saliva and other things that would have given them vital evidence such as the criminals DNA.

Another thing that contributes to the 'peelers' (a nickname derived from their creator Sir Robert Peel)

not making a big difference was that they were not wide spread, they only existed in London rather than the whole country and even in London they were not found in all boroughs. However, this all changed when The Municipal Council Act (1835) and The County and Borough Police Act (1856) were introduced. This was a sign to the public. It showed that even though the Police Force had it's flaws it was trying its best to eradicate them. Both acts lead to many counties, cities, towns and boroughs to introducing their own Metropolitan style Police Forces. Their jobs might not have been the same nor was their uniform but it was a start to much needed improvements

There were two major changes in the Metropolitan Force during and after the acts were



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