Why 1829?

  • Elaine A. Reynolds


‘Why 1829?’ is a key question asked by historians of Londo?’s police. Why was Robert Peel successful in establishing a centralized, uniformed police force in 1829 when he and others had failed before?1To answer this, we must look at two separate, although related questions. First, why did the 1828 Select Committee on the Police of the Metropolis recommend centralization when it had been rejected before? Secondly, why did the legislation that embodied the Select Committe?’s recommendations pass with so little opposition? To answer the former, this chapter will examine five aspects of police reform in the 1820s. First, professionalization was so common by this period that the debate about policing no longer concerned amateur versus professional. Instead, the problem was to make professional police forces efficient. This, in turn, highlighted problems of regional diversity and made centralization a logical remedy for better prevention and detection of crime. Second, the scandals that plagued the police forces under the authority of the police magistrates led to increasing calls for their reform as well as for parochial police reform?


Police Force Select Committee Political Skill Parish Government Metropolitan Police 
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© Elaine A. Reynolds 1998

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  • Elaine A. Reynolds

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