JSB284 Lecture Two Notes
Policing History, Organisation and Management
Why Bother with Policing History?
It gives us an idea of why current policing functions are so broad
We gain an understanding of the foundations for ‘community policing’
We can see how shifts in social norms have changed the role of police
It shows us how police have continuously shifted between ‘service’ and ‘force’ mentalities
In summary – we get a better understanding of why police do what they do today.
The Roman Empire had formal laws and a judiciary
The Romans had Roman legions, Praetorian guards (bodyguards to Augustus) and soldiers which were
recalled to Rome to protect against the British attacks
Tithings and Hundreds
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Germanic tribes moved into England (the Anglo-Saxons).
This marked the time of Anglo-Saxon England (roughly 410AD to 1066AD).
At this time, there were small communities of ten houses called ‘tithings’. Ten tithings were called hundreds.
Each tithing nominated an individual to be responsible for the tithing (called a tithingman).
Shire reeves or sheriffs were responsible for each hundred.
Both tithingmen and shire reeves were responsible for maintaining the police and enforcing the King’s
Mutual Pledge System
At this time, there was a ‘mutual pledge system’ in which every male over the age of 12 years was required
to pledge to maintain the King’s peace and he was responsible for his community’s behaviour.
If the community became aware that one of its members was breaking the law, it was the responsibility of
the community as a whole to report this. Failure to do so often meant punishment for the entire community.
This became known as the ‘hue and cry’ where individuals were required to raise the alarm when they saw
another person breaking the rules. The community was then responsible for catching the rule-breaker so
that they could be punished.
In essence, this could be considered an early example of the modern notion of community policing.
King William and Norman Feudalism (Monarchy)
William of Normandy (William the Conqueror) successfully invaded England in 1066 after winning the battle
The Normans brought with them feudalism (monarchy) and William became the first King of England.
Under the rule of King William there was:
o Increased emphasis on centralised control
o Normans good at winning hearts and minds
o Restored the Anglo-Saxon system of peacekeeping in the ‘frankpledge’ (same as mutual pledge).
By the end of the 1200s, the Normans established the role of ‘constable’ – an officer who carried the
responsibilities of the tithingman.
Statute of Winchester (1285 – 1829)
Up until this point, policing was less formalised and organisational. This marked the beginning of structure to
the policing system.
Reintroduced the hue and cry system, as well as the role of a Constable.
Also established the ‘watch and ward’ system in which all able-bodied townsmen were required to take
turns at guarding the town by night (night patrol).
Also introduced Assize of Arms – the obligation of males over 15 to take up arms against criminals or
invaders when the hue and cry was raised. Justices of the Peace Act (1361)
Introduced during the reign of King Edward III (1327 – 1377).
Re-established the link between law enforcement and the state.
Appointed Justices of the Peace to preside over local courts.
Parish Constables were also now appointed by Justices of the Peace on a one-year rotational basis.
Since the role of Parish Constable was not very popular, deputies often had to fill in for the role.
By the 16 century, the role of constable had fallen into disrepute. It was regarded as degrading and menial,
with constables of the time generally being drunkards or criminals forced to do the work. As a result, the
system fell apart.
Private prosecutions became common as the community had lost faith in the ability of the law enforcement.
As a result, those who successfully prosecuted received a ‘tyburn ticket’ – that is, an exemption from other
civil duties. These tyburn tickets became increasingly popular and sought after.
Police – Two Schools of Thought
There were two dominant interests and viewpoints of the police force: rising crime rates (especially in
London in 1700s) and protecting the interests of the dominant class.
The reality is that even today police do both of these things. They fight to prevent crime and protect the
interests of the dominant class (influenced by the priorities of the government which is democratically
elected and therefore reflects social norms).
Precursors to ‘Modern Police’
Henry Fielding was appointed as Magistrate at Bow Street Magistrates Court in 1748.
He subsequently created the ‘Bowstreet Runners’ – a group of Parish constables which could be considered
the first special body of police.
The Thames River Police were also created around this time.
There were general calls for a united police force; however the public remained largely suspicious of an
official police force at this time.
Sir Robert Peel
Sir Robert Peel was the UK Prime Minister between 1834 – 1835 and again between 1841 – 1846).
Created the Metropolitan Police Improvement Bill 1829 which was passed and therefore created the first
modern united police force in Western society.
This new police force replaced previous watchmen and constables.
The colloquial name for the British police became ‘Bobbies’ or ‘Peelers’ in homage to Sir Robert.
Peel’s Nine Principles
Sir Robert Peel created nine principles which he believed police should adhere to:
1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.
3. Police must secure the willing cooperation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and
maintain the respect of the public.
4. The degree of cooperation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of
5. Police seek and preserve favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial
service to the law.
6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the
exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.
7. Police, at times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police
are the public and the public are the police; the policing being only members of the public who are paid to give full-
time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of the community welfare and existence.
8. Police should always direct their actions strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the
9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing
with it. In a nutshell, Peel’s nine principles can be broken down into four key beliefs:
Preventative policing – the emphasis on preventing crime.
Policing by consent – the importance of public cooperation and support.
Separation from judiciary – an emphasis on the separation of powers and policing independently.
Police are members of the public – the idea that police are the public and the public are the police.
Early Australian Foundations
The first fleet landed in 1788 (Sydney Cove).