Policing before the police from


Phillip Rawlings. 01 Aug 2008, Policing before the police from: Handbook of policing Routledge……Accessed on: 03 Dec 2018


Rawling starts by highlighting the problem that arises in defining police and policing history. He explains that policing is meant to refer to the maintenance of order, the control of disorder, the prevention of crime and detention of offenders while on the other hand police is meant to be the officials concerned with the policing matters. These terms have often been considered unproblematic and assumed to have been written in the organization and practices that are arrived at by the Metropolitan Police Act 1829 and the legislation.

A brief summary on the policing history is discussed in the book where before the conquest responses to wrongdoings came from the victim’s kin and the community. Ethelbert started Anglo-Saxon codes of laws. Ethelbert stated that compensation would be demanded if revenge was taken before demand for justice. The two paragraphs are focused on the laws that existed in the conquest days like the Athlestan laws, frankpledge system that excluded strangers into a duty. The feudal system creates a connection between the crown and the subjects. At this time the law is just in the developing stage and gaining the form and network of interlocking obligations on the officials, witnesses and whole communities.

In the second subsection of chapter three the rise of the official for instance the Constable, Rawling explains how the ranks were attained. Communal policing is noted to be failing as its existence depends on stability of communities. Famine and increase in population makes communities unstable leading to the feudal system failing. The national strategy co-ordination is supported at this point as problems arise. This is the start of the shifting of power into the hands of the officials from the communities. The appointment of royal officers is explained at this point of the chapter and titles like the sheriff is brought in. In most communities constable is introduced.

In the third part of chapter three a description is made on the public and private police in the eighteenth century. At this point Statute of Winchester tries to create a watch duty. It fails as people cannot commit or they pay someone to stand in their places. Professional forces are applied so as to do away with the watch duty. Rawling gives a brief history on the problems the watch officials have to go through starting form assaults and their inabilities to face major disturbance. In an event of rioting use of army is not encouraged as they are prone to use brute force on civilians creating resentments towards them. The government becomes more involved in the criminal justice system in 1688 and reinforced state police officers. Some governmental departments use rewards and specified officers to their spheres of interests.

In part the section three introduction of court justice is realized where they are required to advice on policing in London. Policing schemes are formed in the eighteenth century. Funding and control is passed into the hands of the government because the Justice structure is stable. Rawling in the next section of chapter three argues on the practice of policing and order maintenance.  Transformation is mentioned as a greater role in policing and officials is now a serious part of life Disciplining of employees was on focus more than on the rich. Laws are justified basing on the ties in immorality, crime and poverty.

The practice of policing in the crime control is then dealt with where Rawling is clear on the crime control dealing where basing on the history he argues on an interesting fact that prosecution is done under the influence of the involvement of the victim broad discretion and it does not have to coincide with the Justice system. Response to cries of robbery victims rose to become a way of detention of criminals. Officers are concerned with order and maintenance as compared to detection work unless there was a reward attached to it. Corruption first rears its head at this point where justice is served to those who can afford it.

Rawling offers a clear insight to the policing and police history. This book helps in understanding of the working of the police and can be of use to anyone who is need of a historic overview of what is expected of the police and how certain laws and guidelines came into the settings. It is definitely a recommended book to be referred on in an event of policing official guidelines and where some of the names took the relative meaning they have today. Rawling has proved to be an expertise in explaining the words that have for years been misunderstood.


Phillip Rawlings. 01 Aug 2008, Policing before the police from: Handbook of policing Routledge……Accessed on: 03 Dec 2018



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