How has the ownership of the policing function changed since 1829? Discuss this statement illustrating changes in private and public policing.

Essay by italiantoniCollege, UndergraduateB-, October 2004

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Since the introduction of the new police in 1829 the force has taken on many new different shapes and sizes. From the historic 'Peelers' to the modern day 'Bobbies,' the aim has always remained the same. To prevent crime and protect and serve the public.

The origin of the British police lies in early tribal history and is based on customs for securing order through the medium of appointed representatives. In effect, the people were the police.


Throughout this essay I plan to examine the different models of policing and see how they have changed over the years. I also aim to look into the input of private sector policing organisations, and evaluate the growth and changes they have undergone.

Prior 1829

Until 1829, law enforcement had been dramatically lacking in organisation. As London expanded during the 18th and 19th centuries, maintaining law and order had become a priority and also a matter of public concern.

The poling system was seen as ineffective and failing dismally to restore and maintain peace and order.

Previous systems were inhumane, containing severe penalties, and weak enforcement structures. Overall it was counterproductive and inefficient. Victims of crime became reluctant to prosecute, as did the jury with regards to conviction.

(Reiner 2000).

Up until 1829, the police consisted of amateur justices, constables, and watchmen. These were seen as being extremely inefficient and corrupt. They were often portrayed as drunkards who 'shuffled along the darkened streets after sunset with long staves and dim lanterns, calling out the time and state of the weather, and thus warned the criminal of their approach'

(Reiner 2000).

In 1818 and 1822, Parliamentary committees were appointed to investigate the subject of crime and policing. It was not until 1829, when Robert Peel became Home Secretary, that the Metropolitan Police...