The Birth of Detectives in the Met

As my previous post on European police suggested, many Britons equated centralized policing with government tyranny and espionage. To avoid such criticisms, when the Metropolitan Police was established in 1829 there was no detective branch.[1] The police commissioners and the Home Office felt that it would be better to make the prevention of crime the…

European Police in the English Imagination

Lately, I’ve been reading about European police agencies to better understand nineteenth-century English prejudices against continental policing. By far the most prominent criticism made against European governments was that they spied on their citizens. Although the English recognized that such tactics could be effective, political policing remained anathema to British sensibilities. The well-trodden statement of…