Assessing The Developments And Effectiveness Of The Law Criminology Essay

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Access the significance of developments in policing in influencing the effectiveness of law enforcement in the period 1830-1965. Until 1830, law enforcement had been lacking in organisation. As London expanded during the 18th and 19th centuries the whole question of maintaining law and order had become a matter of public concern. However it was not until 1828 when Sir Robert Peel created a committee that a police Bill was produced, which led to the setting up of an organised police service in London, commonly known as the Metropolitan police force. Since its inception, it would appear crime rates have gone up from 20,000 in 1829 to 126,597 in 1948.

However it cannot be ignored that the surface population has also significantly increased. In 1948, the population didn't fluctuate significantly but the crime rate anomaly brings me to suspect that developments in policing were only effective in the short term as prior 1948; crime rates had remained steady. Have all developments in policing been effective in the period 1830-1965?

One could argue that the establishment of the Metropolitan Police force during the period of 1829-1830 was of major significance as it highly influenced the effectiveness of law enforcement. But could it be argued that the system in place beforehand was effective for law enforcement? Absolutely not, the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 caused the disorganized system of community constables and watchmen to be replaced. The act also established the "bobbies", which served as the model for modern urban police departments throughout the English speaking world. In other words the establishment of the Metropolitan Police force was so significant that its circumference spread not just nationally, but internationally.

Although this may be the case, the 'Peelers' (named after Robert Peel) weren't initially accepted by the general public and when they took to the streets on 29 September 1829, there was confrontation from certain members of the community who saw them as a menace to 'civil liberties'. Eventually however the impact upon crime in comparison to the inferior methods of watchmen, (particularly organised crime) resulted in appreciation for the 'Bobbies.'

I believe in the short term, the Metropolitan Police had a profound effect on law enforcement. In 1848 there were 15,000 reported crimes, a 5000 deficit on 1829. This is evidence that the establishment of the Metropolitan Police influenced public attitudes towards law and order and ultimately influenced the effectiveness of law enforcement. Without the establishment of the Metropolitan Police Force, the century's old system of law enforcement that was breaking down would still be intact. It relied solely on the public as watchmen at regular intervals and the growth of towns and cities, strained it to contravention.

I would argue that the establishment of the Metropolitan Police force was revolutionary as it prompted a rigorous and less discretionary approach. Its impact extended beyond the implementation of the preceding watch system; without central facilitation or strategic procedure, it began assuming the functions of state prosecution and enforcement agents of a new age of public order and respectability.

The County and Borough Police Act of 1856 highly effected law enforcement. The Act made it compulsory for a county to have a police force if it had not previously formed a constabulary and the counties were also subject to central review. This was significant for the effectiveness of law enforcement as the divide and rule strategy allowed equality and regional support for every citizen in need. The Act also had a policy whereby the secretary of state received official notice when an efficient police force has been established in any county or borough; then one quarter of the costs of pay and clothing would be met by the Treasury. I would suggest that this policy dramatically influenced the effectiveness of law enforcement as it provided struggling police forces an initiative to improve their performance in the hopes of economic reward.

Having said this, although 239 forces were set up, only half of these were found to be efficient. Not only this but of the first 2,800 policemen, only 600 kept their jobs as many were of insufficient quality. Although many Police Forces were unprepared initially, I would suggest that they learned and by 1965, they were organised, concise and efficient. If the County and Borough Police Act was not passed by parliament, it would have been the dark ages indeed for the Metropolitan Police, this is because only London would have had an effective law enforcement system and Counties around England would not have felt obliged to establish an effective Police force.

In 1877, the Criminal Investigations Department was established with the head office being in Scotland Yard. It is the division of all Territorial police forces within the British Police, to which civilian clothed detectives belong. Analysing CID's aims illustrates how they influenced the effectiveness of law enforcement, these were:

Unrelenting investigation of criminals

Securing convictions for criminals

These aims suggest that CID was an arena for elite officers to be part of dedicated teams trained and equipped to undertake proactive and protracted criminal investigations that required complex detection. This would influence the effectiveness of law enforcement as experienced and intelligent officers with 3 or more years of service could join the CID and have a platform to deal with major crimes such as rape or murder much more productively than the average officer.

Having said this, the establishment of The CID was the result of the Turf Fraud Scandal. In 1877, there was a police corruption scandal involving 3 senior detectives accepting bribes by a criminal. The scandal resulted in the three standing trial at the Old Bailey and more importantly the reorganisation of the Detective Branch into the CID. The concerns over the control and obvious potential corruptibility of undercover detectives in close contact with criminals, continued to dampen official enthusiasm for increasing detective force strength.

However demoralising it may have been, the Scandal made the establishment of the CID an ever more significant development as it rapidly altered corruption in the police force, therefore improving law enforcement. The CID was very well managed with 60 Divisional Detective Patrols and 20 Special Patrols. These were commanded by 159 sergeants and above them were 15 Detective Inspectors in contrast to the Detective Branch who were few and not under the control of one head. I would argue that without this reform, major crimes in the 20th century such as the 'Brides in the Bath' Murders of 1912 would never have been solved.

CID officers under cover

"CID officers disguised as dockers during an enquiry into drug smuggling at Limehouse Docks, London, 1911".

Bottom: same officers in their Sunday Clothing

CID officers in Sunday best

A largely distinct development was the formation of a Special Branch in the CID in 1883 which came as a response to the resurgence of Irish terrorism. When Special Branch acquired wider responsibility, deception was practically the motive of its existence. With bursting Home Office encouragement and authority, the police Special Branch developed an increasingly dynamic and expanded interest in an ever contrasting collection of suspect groups.

Special Branch's primary objective was to obtain intelligence, to assess its potential value and to contribute more generally to its analysis. In this way, it was highly significant as an extension of the CID towards improving law enforcement as the unit made a valuable contribution to the safety of communities across the UK, and in doing so, contributed to local policing needs.

One could question the significance Special Branch and query whether Special Branch did influence law enforcement or if it was a turning point in the government for turning the police into a political device. These queries come to my concern as Special Branch's origins came from the need to tackle Irish rebels. Having said this, in 1914 the Home Secretary felt perfectly competent to assure the audience in the House of Commons that no "political police" operated in Britain.

The introduction of fingerprint analysis has been instrumental to the increased effectiveness of law enforcement. The fingerprint department of New Scotland Yard was created in 1901 and ever since, fingerprint evidence has recognised many suspects and helped to decipher many crimes. The Fingerprint Branch, which started with just three people, has proved to be highly significant over the years and by 1965 there were hundreds of technical officers. Fingerprint identification has played a vital role in many major crime investigations, including the case of the Great Train Robbery in 1963. There is no question how pivotal fingerprint analysis been to law enforcement over the years, it has brought thousands of criminals to justice and if the development had no happened, one would argue that the progress of tracking previous criminals and linking them to their future crimes would have be subject to stagnation.

As scientific knowledge has developed, experts called 'forensic scientists' have used a variety of techniques to investigate crime scenes and link criminals to a crime. Forensic science can connect its origins back to the 1930s and the ground-breaking work of policeman Arthur Dixon who pushed forward the value of scientific aids in crime detection. Dixon's vision was for the development of a national forensic science service that would utilize a wide array of scientific methods in the assortment, examination and cataloguing of materials in order to improve the effectiveness of law enforcement. A landmark case in forensic examination was the Stratton Brothers case in 1905, regarding a double murder in Deptford, by Alfred and Albert Stratton, in which, for the first time, fingerprint evidence secured a conviction. Forensics has also helped solve cold cases.

On the focus of cold cases, the Jack the Ripper case of 1888 allows hindsight to prove how effective some of the developments were. Before technological developments, Police had to either catch the criminal in the act of murder, find an eyewitness who had seen the killing or get the suspect to plead guilty. Without forensic science, it was impossible to tell human from animal blood. As a result, in a neighbourhood where there were many butchers, this meant that traces of blood could not be linked to the killings. The Police also lacked the technology of forensics to decide if a piece of human flesh posted to a local male was from a Ripper victim. Using the Ripper case as an example, one can see that if it were not for technological development, citizens would still have the means to do such atrocities and get away with it.

The 20th century has seen the Metropolitan police flourish due to many significant developments, one of which is Police training. The first training school opened in 1907 in Pimlico and Recruits undertook an intensive four-week training course. The year 1934 saw the establishment of a new training school at Hendon. By this time the course had been extended to 10 weeks and on completion of the latest Peel House, all recruit training was transferred. I believe that the establishment of training schools was effective as it ensured that new officers are fully prepared for the challenges which wait for them.

The National Probation Service was created in 1907 as a set of region based services interacting at length with the government. I believe this development is highly significant because if overseen, criminals are less likely to be a threat to society. As well as this, Youths who commit crime may grow to be upstanding citizens.

The 1960s saw many developments that improved the effectiveness of policing. In 1963, radios were used for the first time. This development improved law enforcement significantly as it allowed officers to communicate therefore allowing a SITREP from car chases and other events. Despite 1964 being recognised as the worst year in the 20th century so far in terms of crime rates, 1965 saw the formation of the Special Patrol Group consisting of 100 officers. It arrested 396 people in its first 9 months of functionality proving to be the representation of 135 years of significant developments

The nineteenth century establishment, development and escalation of professional policing in England were in my opinion the most significant institutional changes in the timeframe of criminal justice. In less than half a century, the new police radically transformed the processes and practices of deterring, detecting and prosecuting crime. I would suggest that the most important development was the establishment of the Metropolitan Police force. It is the lasting foundation of law enforcement upon which acts and developments were built upon and without it, the other 3 major developments would never have happened. Overall, changes such as prison acts, reforms, establishment of new branches, and technological advances have influenced law enforcement to a significant extent. I conclude that the developments during 1830-1965 were nothing short of revolutionary for the ever improving effectiveness of law enforcement.

Part A: 1880

Part B: 2114