British Law In The Late 1800's

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The system of crime and law enforcement had hardly changed in Britain since the medieval times. Justices of the Peace or JPs were appointed by the Crown since 1361. Before the night watchmen and parish constables were introduced a primitive police force was introduced and the JPs were assisted by constables who only worked part time and were very unreliable as the pay was really bad. The early stages of the force consisted of a night watchmen and parish constables, who were prior to the creation of the main police force. Watchmen were groups of men, usually authorised by a state, government, or society, to deter criminal activity and provide law enforcement. Constables were required to apprehend anyone accused of a felony and bring criminals to a justice of the peace. They also had a general responsibility to keep the peace. There was no expectation that they would investigate and prosecute crimes because of limited responsibility and training. Night watchmen patrolled the streets between 9 or 10pm until sunrise and were expected to examine all suspicious characters. In the City of London, the City Marshall and the Beadles (Parish wardens) conducted daytime patrols. Similar to the night watchmen, primary responsibilities were to patrol and deter, drunkenness, beggars, vagrants and prostitutes and to act as a deterrent against more serious offences. Over the course of this period, the arrangements by which men served as constables and watchmen changed significantly, to incorporate how felons were detected and apprehended. Volunteers took on the role of the constable by appointment and served a year period of office. They were also expected to carry on their day jobs much like the Special constables of today. Similarly, men w... ... middle of paper ... ...f door-to-door enquires, disguising detectives, laying on extra man power and using coroners and police surgeons for accurate reports. However these methods became a problem, the public’s mistrust and dislike of the force resulted in difficulty in solving crimes. With the lack of experience and scientific knowledge solving crime had a poor success rate, technological and scientific advancement aided with investigations. In addition the Metropolitan Police gradually became an expected presence on the streets. However the police force gradually improved due to one reason, men wanting to join the force was increasing. The increase was many because unemployment was high and the desire for financial security. Furthermore men were eager to join the force as it recognised as a respectable career, something that cannot have been easy to earn in East End of London.

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