The History of UK Policing
The Romans brought their own version of policing to this country nearly 2000 years ago.
The Anglo-Saxons and Danes introduced a form of policing based on the Hundreds and Wapentakes.
The office of Lord High Constable was established in the reign of King Stephen and those who filled this position became the King’s representatives in all matters dealing with military affairs of the realm.
First official reference to the term constable, although the title was in common use long before.
The Statute of Winchester summed up and made permanent the basic obligations and procedures for the preservation of peace. The Statute Victatis London was passed in the same year to separately deal with the policing of the City.
The Oath of the Office of Constable was published, although it had been administered for some time.
An Act was passed 'for better regulating the Night Watch and Bedels within the City of London and the liberties thereof'. This Act directed the payments to be made for serving and directed the number of Constables who were to be on duty each night, i.e. the City established a paid police force before any other area.
The Metropolitan Police Act established that Force. The Metropolitan Police was divided into seventeen divisions each with a Superintendent, four inspectors and sixteen Sergeants.
The Lighting and Watching Act allowed the establishment of paid police forces in England and Wales generally.
The Municipal Corporations Act required 178 Royal Boroughs to set up paid police forces.
The County Police Act allowed the establishment of police forces for the counties - eight were formed in 1839, twelve in 1840, four in 1841 and a further four by 1851.
The remaining counties were compelled to set up police forces by the County and Borough Police Act. Grants were made by the Exchequer to those forces certified each year as efficient. From this Act, moves were made regularly to merge smaller forces into larger ones on the basis of effectiveness and 'value for rate and taxpayers money'.
The Desborough Committee, while rejecting the idea of a national police force, did achieve a measure of centralisation by the creation of a police department in the Home Office.
Home Office Committee effectively rationalises police uniforms.
Police Act leads to many police forces amalgamations - 45 boroughs were abolished.
Police Act results in more amalgamations to result in today's 41 county or area police forces plus the Metropolitan and City of London Police.
Amalgamation of Scotland’s 17 police forces into eight new forces, following the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). Regulated the actions of the police in England and Wales, particularly in relations to arrest and searches/powers of entry. Also instituted the PACE Codes of Practice. PACE did not extend these matters to Scotland but dealt with other subjects there.
Most police powers and functions in Scotland are devolved to the Scottish Parliament as a result of the Scotland Act 1998.
Police Reform Act 2002. Introduced Community Support Officers, commonly referred to as Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).
Major provisions of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 come into effect including the overhaul of powers of arrest, institution of the Serious Organised Crime Agency and extension of powers available to PCSOs.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) took over in 2013 as a non-ministerial government department, replacing SOCA and absorbing the formerly separate CEOP as one of its commands. It also assumed a number of responsibilities of other law enforcement agencies.
Amalgamation of eight Scottish territorial police forces into one: Police Scotland.