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Sunday, 26 March 2017

Police force


Most Romans were too scared to go out after dark. The army, rather than a dedicated police organization, attempted to provide security but muggings were commonplace.

In medieval Spain, Santa Hermandad, literally "holy brotherhood", was a type of peacekeeping association of armed individuals, which became characteristic of municipal life in medieval Spain, especially in Castile.

The Santa Hermandades of medieval Spain 

Jean-Baptiste Colbert, minister to the King, inaugurated the new office of Lieutenant General of Police of Paris in 1667. Nicolas de la Reynie (1625 –June 14, 1709) was the first Lieutenant General of the Paris police, an office which he held from March 1667 to January 1697. His views on law enforcement were advanced, and form the basis for modern police forces today. He is considered to be the founder of the first uniformed police force in the world.

Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie, founder of the first uniformed police force in the world.

The first use of the word police ("Polles") in English comes from the book The Second Part of the Institutes of the Lawes of England published in 1642. For a long time it applied only to French and continental European police forces. The concept of police itself was disliked by the British for several cities as a symbol of foreign oppression.

In 1748 the writer Henry Fielding was appointed magistrate at the Bow Street Police Court in London. The following year, Fielding organised with his half-brother John what was virtually the first English police force. The small group of six constables became known as the "Bow Street Runners".

Robert Peel was an English statesman who first established the Irish constabulary. The people commonly called this police organisation 'Peelers' after Mr. Peel.

By the late 1820s, London's populace had grown to the point that it needed an organised police force to patrol the city's streets. When Robert Peel became Home Secretary of England in 1829, he set out to reorganize the English capital's police. Peel organised a paid and trained force for day and night duty called the Metropolitan Police of London. They were given powers to question travelers after dark, hold all suspicious persons and quell any disturbances.

This first modern police force in Britain was once again nicknamed after Robert aka Bobbie Peel. This time the people called them 'Bobbies'.

A Peeler of the Metropolitan Police Service in the 1850s.

The Metropolitan Police was originally headquartered in Great Scotland Yard, Westminster.

The London police force system was introduced to the rest of the UK in 1856.

The Hong Kong Police Force, the world's second modern police force and Asia's first, was established in 1844.

A brawny black lady called Maria Lee kept a lodging house in Boston in the 1840s and helped bundle arrested people into the horse drawn carriage used to take them to the cells. Thus a police vehicle for transporting prisoners became known as a "Black Maria".

The Canadian Parliament established the North-West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on May 23, 1873. They were formed to bring law to its untamed north-west.

Canadian leader John A. Macdonald first announced the force as the North West Mounted Rifles, but changed the name because of U.S. fears of a military build-up.

North-West Mounted Police officers, 1898
The North-West Mounted Police merged with the Dominion Police, the main police force for all points east of Manitoba, in 1920 and was renamed as the "Royal Canadian Mounted Police".

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police – dubbed the Mounties - was charged with federal law enforcement in all the provinces and territories, and immediately established its modern role as protector of Canadian national security.

Dogs, usually German shepherds, were first trained for police work in Ghent, Belgium, in about 1900.

Police patrolled London on motorcycles for the first time on April 26, 1921.

By jjron - Own work, Wikipedia

In the early 1920s, so many policemen were wearing walrus mustaches that they were reminding people of Bruce Bairnsfather's cartoon character "Old Bill". As a result, they started being nicknamed "Old Bill."


American police police officers wear blue because it makes them harder to see at night and the color evokes feelings of comfort amongst most people.

In 1844, policemen in New York City staged a strike against their proposed blue uniforms. The reason for their opposition was that they considered uniforms to be symbols of servitude, as maids and butlers wore them in the old country.

The navy blue uniforms adopted by many police departments in this early period were simply surplus United States Army uniforms from the Civil War.


On average worldwide, there are 303.3 police officers per 100,000 people.

The New York Police Department has more employees than the FBI.

Different countries have different names for their police. In Ireland, they are called the Garda, in Italy Carabinieri, in Spain Guardia Civil. In Russia, they were called the Militsiyer until 2012; now, they are called the Politsiyer.

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