History of The Metropolitan Police, London. Est 1829
The Metropolitan Police, London
- Policing in the 17th and 18th centuries – one unarmed able-bodied citizen in each parish
- Man was appointed or elected annually to serve for a year unpaid as parish constable.
- Worked in co-operation with the local Justices in observing laws and maintaining order.
- In towns, responsibility for the maintenance of order was conferred on the guilds
- Later conferred on other specified groups of citizens
- These supplied bodies of paid men, known as The Watch
- The Watch guarded the gates and patrolled the streets at night
- Huge social and economic changes and increases in town populations meant parish constables and Watch systems couldn’t cope.
- In 1812, 1818 and 1822, Parliamentary committees investigated crime and policing.
- Impotence of the law-enforcement machinery was a serious menace
- Conditions became intolerable
Led to the formation of the New Police
The Metropolitan Police
- Established by an Act of Parliament in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel
- Peel appointed 2 Commissioners
- Appointed 895 Constables, 88 Sergeants, 20 Inspectors and 8 Superintendents.
- Superseded the local Watch in the London area but the City of London was not covered.
- Numbers increased
- Grew to include the Greater London area (excluding the City of London)
- Included parts of the Home Counties and all Royal Naval Dock Yards throughout the country.
- First officer was given the warrant number ‘1’
- Today the service is reaching near to a quarter million
- The warrant number is unique to the officer
Different from the shoulder number which changes as the officer moves stations.
- Colonel Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne organised and designed the New Police
- The two Commissioners occupied a private house at 4, Whitehall Place
- The back opened on to a courtyard and used as a police station
This address led to the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police being known as Scotland Yard.
Other Police organisations
- Some older police establishments remained outside control of the Metropolitan Police Office
- The Bow Street Patrols, mounted and foot, commonly called the Bow Street runners.
- Police Office constables attached to the offices of, and under the control of, the Magistrates.
The Marine or River Police.
By 1839 all these establishments had been absorbed by the Metropolitan Police Force.
The City of London Police, which was set up in 1839, remains an independent force to this day.