Law and Order in 19th Century London
The police at this time were certainly not anywhere near as advancedin their ways of tackling crime as police are nowadays. The mainreasons for this is that they did not yet have the knowledge tounderstand the criminal mind, and the closest they got was keepingphotographs of criminals faces thinking that criminal types all hadthe same shaped head.
The Metropolitan Police Force had two main areas of expertise; thesewere to patrol the streets to keep order and deter any crime and helpwith major disturbances such as riots. Their training fell short ofbeing capable of solving crimes such as murders and did not have thesame technology that is open to police today when solving crimes.
Police were only allowed to use truncheons until the 1940’s whenrevolvers were introduced to inspectors. The crime fighting techniquesthe force mostly used gained them a reputation for violence, a goodexample of this is when in 1868 a baton charge at Bromley resulted ina seventy eight year old man being trampled to death.
The Metropolitan Police force was not the only police force in London,up until 1839 a force called The Bow Street Runners was in existenceand their horseback branch then went on to become the MetropolitanPolice Force’s mounted section.
It became very dangerous for policeman in poorer parts of London asthere were frequent attacks on them because the less wealthy peoplebelieved the police were only there to protect those with power andwealth, and they were the ones who were singled out by the police.Therefore it was not rare for attacks and murders towards the policearound these areas of London such as the East End.
In 1842 the first detectives were appointed by the Metropolitan PoliceForce, this consisted of two inspectors and six sergeants. Theintroduction of detectives concerned the public as these policemen inplain clothes could not be identified; the Home Office was also in the