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Oldest Police Force


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#26 Woody

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 05:38 PM

In London, night watchmen were the first paid law enforcement body in the country, augmenting the force of unpaid constables. They guarded the streets since 1663. They were later nicknamed 'Charlies', probably after the reigning monarch King Charles II.

#27 Rocket

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 05:40 PM

1673 is the only relevant date, this is when the Special Constabulary was formed. We pipped the regs and even the Met to the post.

#28 DeltaFoxtrot

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 06:07 PM

i am guessing we could even say it was the Ancient Egyptians...... they must have had a Militia patrolling the streets of Cairo?

Edited by DeltaFoxtrot, 14 July 2011 - 06:14 PM.


#29 Smeders

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 06:16 PM

Posted Image

Posted Image Just had to :aok:

#30 Rocket

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 06:27 PM

Resurrection of a 7 year old thread, well spotted - that deserves an award!

#31 Steve Collins

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 07:13 PM

Reply from New Scotland Yard;

Dear Mr. Reardon

Thank you for your email. The term policeman was used by the railway companies because they "policed" the lines i.e. the man walking in front of the train with a red flag, the signalmen etc. The first civil police force was created by Sir Robert Peel as a result of the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 being accepted by parliament. Hence the Met. being the first organised police force.



I was going to say, the BTP is not a Home Office Police Service so the Met is the oldest.

#32 Heimdall

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 08:09 PM

I like that little line that The MET throw out about the Railway Police.
Stockton & Darlington Railway Police did indeed man the houses at the mile markers. They also kept the line clear and prevented damage to the lines and arrested wrongdoers to produce them in front of the local JP.
They also did checks on passengers to ensure they were suitable to travel on the Railway (You had to give 24hours notice at a booking office so a constable could do the relevant suitability checks and either approve or reject ypur travel booking).
When the MET, County and Town Polices were formed, the Railway Policemen were also sworn in as County Constables to keep their authority up-to-date.
They WERE a police force by similar standards.

The BTP were the first force to employ women and use dogs as well, apparently.

#33 Killicksparker

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 10:11 PM

I have just been surfing the net and found a reference to the British Transport Police tracing their history back to 1825. I then checked the history of the Metropolitan Police and found it's routes started in 1829. I have been lead to believe that the 'MET' was the first police force in the world but I now find it was the second. Has there been a mistake or is the BTP the oldest Police force in the world.
I have send an e mail to New Scotland Yard asking them to clear up the above and am still waiting reply.


Even Cambridge University constables can date their history back further than the Mets

The Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge have the power to appoint and swear constables under the Universities Act 1825. Once appointed, such University constables have all the powers of a constable within a 5 mile radius of Great St Mary's church.

The principal function of the University Constabulary is to assist the Proctors. Normally there are between twenty and thirty University constables. The University Marshal and Vice-Marshal, who are senior constables, conduct the routine administration of the Constabulary through the Proctors' Office. Until the 1960s the Proctors and the Constabulary conducted regular street-patrols within the University precincts. Nowadays they operate on a reactive basis when disorder or demonstrations are expected.

In addition to its public-order function, the University Constabulary plays an important part in University ceremonial, at which it controls crowds, assists visitors and provides additional security at important events.




#34 ninetyone

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:02 PM

There's a huge difference between a body of constables and a police force, and it's one that still exists today (though the bodies of constables have now adopted almost all the trappings of the police forces). The old parish constables and night watchmen were not a police force in any sense of the word, nor were the university constables.

#35 Morse

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 07:58 AM

I was going to say, the BTP is not a Home Office Police Service so the Met is the oldest.



#36 GoneForgotten

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 09:39 AM

Well, arguably part of the Met is the oldest, http://en.wikipedia....ne_Police_Force, the Marine Police Officer was absorbed into the Met.

#37 Morse

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 09:50 AM

Well, arguably part of the Met is the oldest, http://en.wikipedia....ne_Police_Force, the Marine Police Officer was absorbed into the Met.


City of Glasgow Police still goes back further.




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