Gray, D. (2012) Policing the City of London, c.1780-1829. Invited Presentation presented to: Londonicity 2012: The Second Annual London Studies Conference, University of London, 22-24 June 2012. (Unpublished)
The policing of the City of London in the late eighteenth century drew praise from some contemporaries, in contrast to the widespread criticism of policing elsewhere in the metropolis. The City had a tripartite model of policing (of public, private and community policing) that was co-ordinated from the centre of City government. Arguably this contrasted sharply with policing elsewhere in the Metropolis in the long eighteenth century. This paper examines the levels and distribution of policing in the City and explores the nature of this policing by looking at the role and function of various policing agents. Using the records of trials from the Old Bailey, the minute books of the City’s two summary courts, contemporary newspaper reports and, drawing upon recent studies of the Bow Street Runners in the period, it will consider how proactive the City’s policing agents were in the fifty years prior to the creation of England’s first professional force. This paper will suggest that, in the City of London at least, a semi-professional policing body was in existence well before the creation of the Metropolitan Police in 1829.