How effective were the police by 1860?
“The government wanted to avoid rumours that the police were like the military so officers were unarmed. Their uniforms were very different from that of the military. It was down to the determination not to be like the military, so many people were uncertain of what the police actually did. This tended to cause a lot of early complaints. This could negatively impact the effectiveness of the police force if people were this unsure about them.”
This source suggests that there was an element of distrust, as the people did not know what the police did, thus the police force’s work was doubled, as not only did they have to combat crime, but they also had to reassure the public that they were not a military force, and that they could be trusted. Therefore, initially this might have led to many crimes being unreported, making the force ineffective.
“This source shows the inconsistency of crime prevention in the growing industrial cities in the early 19th century. Where Newcastle had an 'efficient force' other areas such as Liverpool were 'policed by a mix of watchmen and parish constables'. There were also problems in rural areas with issues such as "Captain Swing" violence becoming prominent in 1828-32.”
Again, this could show that in some areas the police were ineffective due to mistrust, and shows that with crime increasing in the early 1800s, the older methods with the “watchman” were inadequate to deal with it, thus a new system was required in the growing industrial cities, so as to make the force more effective.
“The source is a poster from 1830, callng for public meetings to 'Abolish the New Police!'. It shows that at the formation of the London Metropolitan police, the public were not accepting of them, resulting in the Police not being as effective as Sir Robert Peel intended them to be. Some of the questions put forward by the poster, suggest that the public wanted to abolish the police because they were suspicious of...