The History of UK Policing

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438 onwards
A Roman army
A Roman army Source: http://www.jerashchariots.com/index.html

The Romans brought their own version of policing to this country nearly 2000 years ago.

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600 onwards
A drawing of a Saxon thane, a local leader
A drawing of a Saxon thane, a local leader Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/anglo_saxons/kings_and_laws/

The Anglo-Saxons and Danes introduced a form of policing based on the Hundreds and Wapentakes.

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1135
King Stephen of England (1096-1154)
King Stephen of England (1096-1154) Source: http://www.nndb.com/people/714/000093435/

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.

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1252

First official reference to the term constable, although the title was in common use long before.

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1285

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.

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1630

The Oath of the Office of Constable was published, although it had been administered for some time.

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1737
The Marlybone Watchhouse
The Marlybone Watchhouse Source: http://www.londonlives.org/

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.

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1829
The Metropolitan Police Badge
The Metropolitan Police Badge

The Metropolitan Police Act established that Force. The Metropolitan Police was divided into seventeen divisions each with a Superintendent, four inspectors and sixteen Sergeants.

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1833

The Lighting and Watching Act allowed the establishment of paid police forces in England and Wales generally.

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1835
Policeman, Scarborough, © 1830, by William Dempsey
Policeman, Scarborough, © 1830, by William Dempsey Source: http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/

The Municipal Corporations Act required 178 Royal Boroughs to set up paid police forces.

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1839

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.

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1856

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'.

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1919
Lord Desborough (1855-1945)
Lord Desborough (1855-1945) Source: http://www.hertsmemories.org.uk/content/herts-history/people/sportspeople/lord-desborough

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.

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1934
Wartime (1939) Police Officer
Wartime (1939) Police Officer Source: http://www.oldpolicecellsmuseum.org.uk/

Home Office Committee effectively rationalises police uniforms.

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1946

Police Act leads to many police forces amalgamations - 45 boroughs were abolished.

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1964
Recruits from the Bucks Constabulary 1964
Recruits from the Bucks Constabulary 1964 Source: http://www.mkheritage.co.uk/

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.

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1975
Inverness Constabulary police staff 1975
Inverness Constabulary police staff 1975 Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/conner395/12160413315/

Amalgamation of Scotland’s 17 police forces into eight new forces, following the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

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1984

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.

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1999

Most police powers and functions in Scotland are devolved to the Scottish Parliament as a result of the Scotland Act 1998.

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2002
Police Community Support Officer
Police Community Support Officer

Police Reform Act 2002. Introduced Community Support Officers, commonly referred to as Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

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2006
Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) Logo
Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) Logo Source: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100505093946/soca.gov.uk/about-soca/library

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.

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2013

Amalgamation of eight Scottish territorial police forces into one: Police Scotland.

UK POLICE MEMORIAL

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