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Describe Law And Order In The Late Nineteenth Century

1355 words - 5 pages

The law and order in the late nineteenth was different to the people as they were use to the constables and watchmen. The police was enforced to ensure minimal violence and crimes that was occurring to make London a much securer environment.Sir Robert Peel was the founder of the first major reform of law enforcement, which was the Metropolitan Police Act on 29th September in 1829. This was because he didn't think the current methods of maintaining law and order were effective enough. The Metropolitan Police meant that 13,200 men were employed to patrol an area extending 7 miles from the centre of London. 4 inspectors and 144 constables each were enforced to patrol 17 divisions. This was the beginning of the discovery towards a stable and continuous law.There were several police forces which began before the Metropolitan Police was enforced. One of which was the 'Bow Street Runners' based in Covent Garden. This fundamental police force was produced by Sir Henry Fielding in 1798. Others include the 'Thames River' Police, this was created to combat pirates and smuggling on the River Thames. All these later united into the Metropolitan Police in 1839.Although the police force was not favoured by some, they were desperately needed as the crime level was rising. This was because there was a population increase and families weren't able to get enough money to support themselves. It seemed that the poor disliked the police more than the rich as they thought the police was only there to protect the higher classes. The population was also increasing drastically, so logically, crime would too. More urban areas (i.e. London) had more people moving there to work in factories but not all of them had work to fund their families. Therefore they would convert to crime. Also wages tended to be low and people couldn't support themselves.The most common crime to be committed was petty theft. This was mainly because minor belongings such as watches, purses and hand kerchiefs were easier to steal. The overcrowded streets also made it easier for the criminal and executions were a potential place for theft as they attracted crowds of up to 200,000 people. Garrotting was sometimes used as well. This was when somebody would half strangle their victim so that they were easier to rob. Murder was relatively rare during this period. In spite of this, the public were more agitated about horrific murders than petty theft. This fear and fascination grew as newspapers and the media exploited murders by publicising them.The police was required to wear a uniform. This was to distinguish them from the army which was previously used to control crowds but had given themselves a bad reputation of violence from the Peterloo incident in 1819. The uniform worn consisted of a tailcoat and a top hat. This was later replaced by helmets in 1870 to ensure their protection. Deterrents, such as truncheons and a cutlass, were used to prevent criminals from acting antisocially and were not meant...

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