Assess the Significance of Developments in Policing in Influencing the Effectiveness of Law and Order in the Period 1830 – 1965.

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Assess the significance of developments in policing in influencing the effectiveness of law and order in the period 1830 – 1965.

There were many significant developments in policing which aided the effectiveness of law enforcement in Britain from the period of 1830 to 1965. Reasons as to why developments were necessary in this period; firstly between the years 1829 – 1850 there was a steady increase in crime[1]. Secondly as time progressed criminals came up with ways to beat the policing system, therefore it was necessary for policing in Britain to develop, in order to keep on top of crime. Development factors such as; the establishment of the Metropolitan Police Force, passing of key legislation were key developments in policing which influenced law and order. Other developments such as the reformation of prisons and developments in technology, coupled with roles of individuals such as; Elizabeth Fry and high profile cases like that of Oscar Wilde, also contributed to the effectiveness of law enforcement in the 19th and 20th century.

The first significant development in British policing, which notably advocated effective law enforcement was the establishment of the Metropolitan Police Force in 1830. This was a significantly fundamental advancement in law enforcement as it was the first time in British history that an organised policing force was introduced and it updated the predated system of watchmen and bow street runners. However, the force was met with varying attitudes from the public, much of which was sensationalised by the media[2]. Other major Acts were implemented to support the Metropolitan police, especially forces outside of London, for example; the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. This was a significant development as it nationalised the police force therefore allowing effective law enforcement to take place throughout the country, unlike before where it was restricted to London[3]. However the effectiveness of these developments can be questioned, as police officers were often criticised for being drunks and bullies[4], therefore they were mistrusted by the general public.

There were further attempts to nationalise the police force, such as the Rural Constabulary Act 1839. This was a significant development in law enforcement as the legislation focused nationalising policing in rural areas. On the other hand, the enforcement of the Act was optional[5] thus limiting its effectiveness, as many boroughs were apprehensive of its creation. Nevertheless further legislation was pioneered in the form of the County and Borough Police Act of 1856, which saw every county having to acquire a professional police force[6]. The government encouraged the development and gave incentives such as; paying for clothing and wage to efficient police forces[7]. Officers therefore, would have felt a sense of duty to their jobs accurately as they had respectable positions.

Additional legislation allowed the policing forces of Britain to develop into further branches, such as the establishment of the C.I.D in 1877 which investigated homicides. This development was pivotal as it loosened pressure on the Metropolitan police force and allowed a select force to focus on a case. However, the birth of the C.I.D incurred with the Turf Fraud Scandal, thus leaving the public suspicious and distrustful of the establishment. The C.I.D’s first major test came in the form of the Jack the Ripper Case in 1888[8], which instilled fear throughout the nation. Conversely the case was significant in another light, as police performance was repeatedly criticised for its incapability and slow work. Other cases such as The Arrest of Scotland Yard[9], did not help the detective forces as they were again shown as an inefficient and corruptive detectives. The development of the C.I.D also brought about the development of the Special Irish Branch in 1884, both which showed their significance as they foiled the assassination attempt of Queen...
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