A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BRITISH POLICE

June 29, 2011

BELOW ARE A FEW SLIDESHOW  IMAGES OF VARIOUS BRITISH POLICE MEMORABILIA ITEMS ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL. PROVIDING A VERY  BRIEF  INSIGHT INTO A SMALL PART OF  THE MANY DIVERSE  CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTIONS ON DISPLAY THERE 

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BRITISH POLICE

The word “Police” means, generally, the arrangements made in all civilised countries to ensure that the inhabitants keep the peace and obey the law. The word also denotes the force of peace officers (or police) employed for this purpose.

In 1829 Sir Richard Mayne wrote:
“The primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime: the next that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed. To these ends all the efforts of police must be directed. The protection of life and property, the preservation of public tranquillity, and the absence of crime, will alone prove whether those efforts have been successful and whether the objects for which the police were appointed have been attained.”

Police officerIn attaining these objects, much depends on the approval and co-operation of the public, and these have always been determined by the degree of esteem and respect in which the police are held. One of the key principles of modern policing in Britain is that the police seek to work with the community and as part of the community.

Origins of policing

The origin of the British police lies in early tribal history and is based on customs for securing order through the medium of appointed representatives. In effect, the people were the police. The Saxons brought this system to England and improved and developed the organisation. This entailed the division of the people into groups of ten, called “tythings”, with a tything-man as representative of each; and into larger groups, each of ten tythings, under a “hundred-man” who was responsible to the Shire-reeve, or Sheriff, of the County.

The tything-man system, after contact with Norman feudalism, changed considerably but was not wholly destroyed. In time the tything-man became the parish constable and the Shire-reeve the Justice of the Peace, to whom the parish constable was responsible. This system, which became widely established in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, comprised, generally, one unarmed able-bodied citizen in each parish, who was appointed or elected annually to serve for a year unpaid, as parish constable. He worked in co-operation with the local Justices in securing observance of laws and maintaining order. In addition, in the towns, responsibility for the maintenance of order was conferred on the guilds and, later, on other specified groups of citizens, and these supplied bodies of paid men, known as “The Watch”, for guarding the gates and patrolling the streets at night.

Historic officerIn the eighteenth century came the beginnings of immense social and economic changes and the consequent movement of the population to the towns. The parish constable and “Watch” systems failed completely and the impotence of the law-enforcement machinery was a serious menace. Conditions became intolerable and led to the formation of the “New Police”.

The Metropolitan Police

In 1829, when Sir Robert Peel was Home Secretary, the first Metropolitan Police Act was passed and the Metropolitan Police Force was established. This new force superseded the local Watch in the London area but the City of London was not covered. Even within the Metropolitan Police District there still remained certain police establishments, organised during the eighteenth century, outside the control of the Metropolitan Police Office, viz:-

  • The Bow Street Patrols, mounted and foot, the latter commonly called the “Bow Street runners”.
  • Police Office constables attached to the offices of, and under the control of, the Magistrates.
  • The Marine or River Police.

By 1839 all these establishments had been absorbed by the Metropolitan Police Force. The City of London Police, which was set up in 1839, remains an independent force to this day.

HISTORY OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE

Time Line 1829 – 1849

Until 1829, 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. In 1812, 1818 and 1822, Parliamentary committees were appointed to investigate the subject of crime and policing. But it was not until 1828 when Sir Robert Peel set up his committee that the findings paved the way for his police Bill, which led to the setting up of an organised police service in London.

1829 The formation of the Metropolitan Police Force on 29 September 1829 by Sir Robert Peel.

Sir Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne are appointed as Justices of the Peace in charge of the Force.

Sir Robert Peel
1830 PC Joseph Grantham becomes first officer to be killed on duty, at Somers Town, Euston. The Metropolitan Police ranks were increased considerably to 3,300 men.
1831 Further riots. A crowd attacks Apsley House, home of the Duke of Wellington, and break all the windows. The police eventually restore order.
1832 Richard Mayne, the Commissioner, tries to clarify the roles of the Magistrates and the Commissioners as the Bow Street Runners continue their existance.
1833 Coldbath Fields Riot (Grays Inn Road). A major crowd disturbance was dealt with by the Metropolitan Police with controversial use of force.

PC Robert Culley was killed at this event, and the jury returned a verdict of Justifiable Homicide.

The Cully Cup
1834 The Select Committee designated with the task of inquiring into the state of the Police of the Metropolis reported ‘that the Metropolitan Police Force, as respects its influence in repressing crime and the security it has given to persons and property, is one of the most valuable modern institutions’
1835 In October a fire breaks out at the Millbank Penitentiary and 400 Metropolitan Police officers and a detachment of the Guards are called to restore order. This prompted the press to call for the police to be put in command at all large fires.
1836 The Metropolitan Police absorb the Bow Street Horse Patrol into its control. Officer in replica mounted horse patrol tunic
1837 Select Committee appointed to look into the affairs of the police offices. They also propose that the City of London be placed under the control of the Metropolitan Police.
1838 Select Committee finally reports and recommends incorporating of Marine Police and Bow Street Runners into the Metropolitan Police and the disbandment of the Bow Street Office and other Offices. These were all agreed and put into effect.
1839 The two Justices of the Peace, Rowan and Mayne are termed Commissioners by the Metropolitan Police Act 1839. Enlargement of the Metropolitan Police District by the same Act.
1840 Gould Interrogation case in which Police Sergeant Otway attempts induced self-incrimination in the accused, which is immediately discountenanced by the Courts and Commissioner Richard Mayne.
1841 Formation of Dockyard divisions of the Metropolitan police.
1842 Formation of the Detective Department. Detective Body Memo
1843 The Woolwich Arsenal became part of the area to be patrolled by the Metropolitan Police.
1844 Richard Mayne, Commissioner, called to give evidence to the Select Committee on Dogs. He stated that in the Metropolis there were a rising number of lost or stolen dogs. In the preceding year over 600 dogs were lost and 60 stolen. He declared the law to be in a very unsatisfactory state as people paid money for restoration of dogs. ‘People pay monies to parties whom they have reason to believe have either stolen or enticed them away in order to get the reward…’ Mayne believed it to be organised crime.
1845 The Commissioners, in returns to the Home Office, states that the aim of the Force was to have one Policeman to 450 head of population.
1846 Plain clothes officers were frequently used at this time, but a June order made clear that two officers per division would be employed on detective duties, but that police in plain clothes must make themselves known if interfered with in their duty.
1847 Statistics for the year were; 14,091 robberies; 62,181 people taken in charge, 24,689 of these were summarily dealt with; 5,920 stood trial and 4,551 were convicted and sentenced; 31,572 people were discharged by the magistrates.

The Metropolitan Police were still, despite their good record on crime prevention, facing discipline problems amongst their officers on the 18 divisions, with 238 men being dismissed in the year.

1848 Large scale enrolement of Special constables to assist the Metropolitan Police in controlling the Chartist Demonstrations. Chartist Demonstration Officer
1849 Authorised strength 5,493. In reality 5,288 were available for duty. The population at this time in London was 2,473,758.

 

Time Line 1850 – 1869

1850 Retirement of Sir Charles Rowan as joint Commissioner. Captain William Hay is appointed in his place.
1851 The Great Exhibition with its special crowd problems forces the police to temporarily form a new police division. The total manpower of the force at this time was 5,551, covering 688 square miles. Great Exhibition Cartoon
1852 Sir Charles Rowan, first joint Commissioner, dies. In his obituary note of 24 May The Times wrote: “No individual of any rank or station could be more highly esteemed or loved when living, or more regretted in death.”
1853 Lord Dudley Stuart, MP for Marylebone and a persistent critic of the police, suggests in Parliament that the police are not worth the money they cost. He recommends that they be reduced in numbers, and a higher class of officers be recruited to control the constables.
1854 Out of 5,700 in the Metropolitan Force, 2.5% were Scottish, 6.5% Irish. The Commissioner was not happy about employing these officers in areas of high Scottish or Irish ethnic concentrations.
1855 Death of Captain William Hay. Sir Richard Mayne becomes sole Commissioner.
1856 Detective Force increased to 10 men, with an extra Inspector and Sergeant.
1857 The Commissioner Richard Mayne is paid a salary of £1,883, and his two Assistant Commissioners are paid salaries of £800 each.
1858 First acquisition of Police van for conveying prisoners. These were horse drawn, and known as‘Black Marias’. Black Marias
1859 Police orders of 6 January state “It is a great gratification to the Commissioner that the number of police guilty of the offence of drunkenness during the late Christmas holidays has been much lower than last year… In A, F and R Division only one man was reported in each, and in H Division not one man was reported in the present or last year..”
1860 Police begin the occasional use of hand ambulances for injured, sick or drunk people. Accommodation or ‘ambulance sheds’ are later provided for these in police station yards.
1861 Police orders on the 25 January made allowance for one third of Metropolitan Police officers in Dockyards “to be relieved each Sunday, to give them an opportunity of attending Divine Service…”

The Metropolitan Police act as firemen at the British Museum. The Superintendent in charge said of them “From their manner of doing the work, I should be inclined to place considerable confidence in these men in an emergency.”

Police on Fire Brigade duties
1862 Further expansion in the Metropolitan Police with the formations of the X and W Divisions in the west, and Y Division in the north.
1863 Drunkenness is still a problem in the force, and in this year 215 officers were dismissed for this reason.
1864 Execution of 5 pirates of the ship ‘Flowery Land’ at Newgate. The Metropolitan Police supply nearly 800 officers to keep the peace.
1865 Further extensions of the Metropolitan Police District in terms of the area patrolled in north east London.
1866 3,200 police under the command of Commissioner Richard Mayne were used to control a serious riot in Hyde Park. 28 police were permanently disabled, and Mayne was hit by a stone which cut his head open. He was forced to call in the Military to restore order.
1867 The Metropolitan Police are severely criticised after Commissioner Richard Mayne ignores a warning about the Clerkenwell bombing by the Fenians. Mayne offers his resignation, but it is refused. Clerkenwell explosion
1868 Death of Commissioner Sir Richard Mayne. Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Labalmondiere acts as Commissioner.
1869 Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Henderson appointed Commissioner. Lt Cl. Edmund Henderson

Time Line 1870 – 1889

1870 The standard height for Metropolitan Police officers is raised to 5ft 8ins, except for Thames Division, where it is 5ft 7ins.
1871 As a result of frequent larcenies of linen, the Commissioner Edmund Henderson said, on the 21 April, “Constables are to call at the houses of all persons on their beats having wet linen in their gardens, and caution them of the risk they run in having them stolen…”
1872 Police strike for the first time. Various men are disciplined or dismissed, although these latter are later allowed back in to the Force.
1873 The Metropolitan Police acquire 9 new stations : North Woolwich, Rodney Road (Lock’s Fields), Chislehurst, Finchley, Isleworth, Putney, South Norwood, Harrow and Enfield Town.
1874 A survey of recruiting over a 2 year period showed that of those who had joined the force; 31% came from land jobs, 12% from military services, and 5% from other police jobs. The remainder came mostly from manual jobs. The majority of recruits and serving officers came from outside of London.
1875 New police offices at Great Scotland Yard are taken possession of on 4 October 1875 by the Detective and Public Carriage Departments.
1876 8 January the following order was released : “Relief from duty during severe weather – dufing the present severe weather as much indulgence as possible is to be given to the men on night duty, due regard being had to public safety..”
1877 Trial of the Detectives or Turf Fraud Scandal exposes corruption within the Force. Old Bailey Trial
1878 Charles Vincent was appointed Director of Criminal Investigations, the reformed Detective Branch which became known as C.I.D. Charles Vincent
1879 Initial rules for dealing with Murder cases, released on 7 June, stated “the body must not be moved, nor anything about it or in the room or place interfered with, and the public must be excluded..”
1880 Formation of the Convict Supervision Office for the assistance and control of convicts discharged upon license.
1881 Possibly London’s most famous police station, Bow Street, was rebuilt in this year. Bow Street Police Station
1882 The growth of London and the area needing policing is illustrated in Tottenham, (Y Division) when 8 miles of new streets are formed in a year with nearly 4,000 houses on them.

The Metropolitan Police at Devonport Dockyard illustrate the diversity of the role of the force as the Police Fire Brigade has its busiest year since formation with 6 major fires.

1883 Special Irish Branch formed.
1884 A bomb explodes at Scotland Yard planted by the Fenians. The Special Irish Branch are hit. Damage to Scotland Yard and Pub
1885 The strength of the force at this time was 13,319, but statistics show that only 1,383 officers were available for beat duty in the day. The population of London at this time was 5,255,069.Public outrage at the explosions at the Tower of London and Houses of Parliament. Two men are sentenced to penal servitude for life as a result.
1886 Trafalgar Square riot forces resignation of the Commissioner Sir Edmund Henderson.
1887 Major riot in Trafalgar Square, known as ‘Bloody Sunday’, the first test for the new Commissioner Sir Charles Warren, appointed the previous year.
1888 Sir Charles Warren resigns after a dispute with the Home Office, and James Monro is appointed Commissioner in his place.

Jack the Ripper murders in the Whitechapel area.

James Monro
1889 The last of the so called “Whitechapel” murders is discovered with the death in Castle Alley on 17 July of Alice McKenzie.

Time Line 1890 – 1909

1890 Opening of the new headquarters at the Norman Shaw Building on the Embankment known as New Scotland Yard.

Police strike at Bow Street Police Station.

Sir Edward Bradford is appointed Commissioner after the resignation of James Monro.

Sir Edward Bradford
1891 The Public Carriage and Lost Property Offices move from Great Scotland Yard to the new offices at New Scotland Yard on the 21 March. Staff member at the Lost Property Office
1892 Dismissals and rank and pay reductions were common at this point, and the case of Pc379A Best whose resignation on 21 July illustrates how the Metropolitan Police attempted to keep its men in order. He was “in possession of a tea-can, the property of another constable, obliterating the owners number, substituting his own name and number, telling a deliberate falsehood in connection therewith; and considered unfit for the police force.”
1893 PC George Cooke, a serving officer, is convicted for murder and hanged.
1894 The Alphonse Bertillon system of identification comes into operation. Anthropometric measuring devices
1895 To join the Metropolitan Police the following qualifications were necessary: 

  • to be over 21 and under 27 years of age
  • to stand clear 5ft 9ins without shoes or stockings
  • to be able to read well, write legibly and have a fair knowledge of spelling
  • to be generally intelligent
  • to be free from any bodily complaint

The bodily complaints for which candidates were rejected included; flat foot, stiffness of joints, narrow chest and deformities of the face.

1896 Public Carriage Office and Lost Property Offices amalgamate under the designation ‘Public Carriage Branch’.
1897 Metropolitan Police Officers granted a boot allowance instead of being supplied with boots. Police boots at this time were loathed, only Sir Edward Bradford, the Commissioner, believing them suitable.
1898 After a series of assaults and the murder of PC Baldwin in the vicinity of the Kingsland Road, there are calls for the Metropolitan Police to be armed with revolvers.
1899 High rate of suicides amongst officers. This is blamed by certain commentators on harsh discipline and insensitive handling of the men.

As the century draws to a close it is worth noting that the Metropolitan Police on formation in 1829 had a force of about 3,000 men, and by 1899 16,000. The population of London had grown from 1,500,000 to 7 million.

1900 Construction of a new floating police station at Waterloo Pier.Lord Belper Committee inquire into the best system of identification of possible criminals.
1901 The Fingerprint Bureau commences operation after the findings of the Belper Report. Anthropometric measurements under the Bertillon system are still used, but begin to decline in importance.
1902 The coronation of King Edward VII makes major demands on the police, resulting in 512 police pensioners being recalled for duty. Extra pay, leave and a medal were granted to all serving officers.
1903 Sir Edward Bradford retires as Commissioner to be replaced by Edward Henry. Sir Edward Henry
1904 6 new stations buildt at East Ham, Hackney, John Street, Muswell Hill, North Woolwich and Tower Bridge. 1 is near completion and 2 other started. Major works take place on 23 other stations.
1905 An article in Police Review mentions that Pc William Hallett of Y Division, who had retired after 26 years as a mounted officer, had ridden 144,000 miles or more than 5 times around the world in the course of his duty.
1906 The Metropolitan Police at this stage in their history are on duty for 13 days a fortnight and have an additional leave of 10 days.
1907 Clash between the Metropolitan Police and 800 Suffragettes outside the House of Commons on 13 February. Mounted and Foot officers are used to disperse them, and allegations of brutality are made.
1908 Police Review reports “the authorities at Scotland Yard have been seriously discussing the use of dogs as the constable companion and help, and Sir Edward Henry (Commissioner), who regards the innovation sympathetically, considers the only crucial objection to be the sentimental prejudices of the public.”
1909 The Tottenham Outrage occurs, in the course of which PC William Tyler and a 10 year old boy are shot dead by anarchists. Memorial to PC William Tyler

Time Line 1910 – 1929

1910 Radio Telegraphy used for the first time, resulting in the capture of Doctor Crippen.

The miners strike in South Wales results in many Metropolitan Police officers assisting to maintain law and order.

1911 The Siege of Sidney Street results in armed Metropolitan Police officers taking to the streets with the military to deal with armed anarchist criminals.
1912 Assassination attempt on the life of the Commissioner, Sir Edward Henry.

Establishment of the Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary on a permanent basis.

MPS officers at the S.W.Coal Strike
1913 The Commissioner calls for legislation to be introduced to restrict the trade in pistols following the assassination attempt on his own life.
1914 With the outbreak of war, 24,000 Special Constables are sworn in, and by the end of the year there are 31,000. Annual leave is suspended for the first year of the war.

Women Police founded in this year.

Women Police 1914
1915 London Ambulance Service commences operation, taking over some of the duties originally performed by the Metropolitan Police. However, police in this year convey over 11,000 people to hospital.
1916 The Commissioner Sir Edward Henry signs a Police Order in November stating that any member of the Metropolitan Police renders himself liable to dismissal by joining a union.
1917 At this point in WW1, some 2,300 members of the Metropolitan Police were serving in the armed services.
1918 Major strike of Metropolitan Police in search of better pay and conditions, and union recognition. Sir Edward Henry resigns as Commissioner, and is replaced by Sir Nevil Macready.
1919 Macready crushes a further police strike.

Women Police Patrols appointed.

Formation of Flying Squad.

1920 Sir Nevil Macready retires as Commissioner, and is replaced by Brigadier-General Sir William Horwood.
1921 The Police Pensions Act comes into force, fixing an age limit for each rank at which retirement shall be compulsory.

Z Division formed on the South side of the River Thames.

1922 Commissioner Horwood admits that many of the men taken into the force in 1919 to replace strikers and those in the armed forces have given trouble due to neglecting their beats and drunkenness.

The Commissioner also comments on the growth in consumption of methylated spirits, with 80 convictions this year.

Women Constables reduced to an establishment of 20.

1923 First Cup Final at Wembley leads to major crowd problems, controlled by the Mounted Branch. Billy, the White Horse of Wembley, and his rider Pc George Scorey become a legend.
1924 The Commissioner explains in his Annual Report how the social status of a Metropolitan policeman has been raised due to his conditions of employment.
1925 The Metropolitan Police begin to withdraw from policing dockyards (including Rosyth, Pembroke, Deptford Dockyards) and War Department Stations.

Sir James Olive retires from his position as an Assistant Commissioner after 53 years service.

1926 Attempt to assasinate Commissioner Horwood with poisoned chocolates
1927 Public Carriage Office transfered to Lambeth
1928 Retirement of Brigadier-General Sir William Horwood. Viscount Byng of Vimy appointed new Commissioner. Viscount Byng of Vimy
1929 Centenery of Metropolitan Police celebrated with a parade in Hyde Park and inspection by HRH the Prince of Wales.

The Police Box system commences on an experimental basis in Richmond and Wood Green.

Officer making a call from a Police Box

Time Line 1930 – 1949

1930 Large number of men posted to Motor Patrol work: 4 subdivisional Inspectors, 31 Sergeants, and 324 Constables.
1931 Commissioner Byng retires. Lord Trenchard appointed.
1932 Lord Trenchard abolishes the timed Beat System and sets out his thoughts about the Metropolitan Police Personnel recruitment and promotion system.
1933 Trenchard begins his programme for the improvement of Section Houses.
1934 The Metropolitan Police College opens at Hendon.

Metropolitan Police withdraw from Devonport Dockyard, bringing to a close its presence in HM Dockyards.

Opening of Hendon College
1935 Metropolitan Police Forensic Laboratory opened.

Lord Trenchard retires as Commissioner, and Sir Philip Game is appointed in his place.

1936 The Battle of Cable Street involves the Metropolitan Police in street battles with opposing political factions. Battle of Cable Street
1937 The 999 system is introduced.
1938 Civil Defence starts with the formation of two Reserves in the event of war. The first are retired officers, the second Special Constables.
1939 I.R.A. activity results in 59 explosions in the Metropolitan Police District. 55 people are convicted for these offences.
1940 98 Metropolitan Police officers killed during air raids.

Click here to read about the MPS officer murdered in Hyde Park during the war

1941 Air raid bombings continue, and Holloway police station is destroyed. Somers Town, Sydenham and Brixton stations are too badly damaged to be used.
1942 Police officers allowed to volunteer for the Armed Forces.
1943 In an attempt to curb housebreaking, the Commissioner Sir Philip Game asks people not to keep furs, saying “they are no doubt warmer, and look nicer than a tweed coat, but a live dog is better than a dead lion.” Sir Philip Game
1944 Looting reaches an all time record.
1945 Sir Philip Game retires and is replaced as Commissioner by Harold Scott. Sir Harold Scott
1946 The Metropolitan and City Police Company Fraud Department is formed.
1947 Metropolitan Police face a deficiency of 4,730 men as a result of the war.
1948 Indictable crime rate falls to 126,000 crimes, but this is still 40% higher than before the war.
1949 Lord Oakseys committee reports on police pay, recommending small increases and London weighting.

Time Line 1950 – 1969

1950 The Metropolitan Police Roll of Honour is unveiled at Westminster Abbey by the Queen, displaying the names of officers killed in the 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 wars.
1951 Commissioner Harold Scott introduces training of cadets aged 16 – 18 to become police officers.
1952 The Dixon Report advocates many changes in the Metropolitan Police, including greater civilianisation.
1953 Sir Harold Scott retires, and is replaced as Commissioner by Sir John Nott-Bower.
Sir John Nott-Bower
1954 Serious understaffing problems, with the force consisting of only 16,000 and needing an estimated 4,000 men, mainly Police Constables.
1955 Formation of the Central Traffic Squad, consisting of 100 men.
1956 Flying Squad makes over 1,000 arrests, a record since its formation.
1957 New Information Room opens at New Scotland Yard.
1958 Sir John Nott-Bower retires as Commissioner. He is replaced by Joseph Simpson. Sir Joseph Simpson
1959 Indictable offences reach over 160,000, the highest recorded to date.
1960 Traffic Wardens introduced.

Criminal Intelligence Section and Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation branches established.

1961 The Receivers Office moved from Scotland House to new premises at Tintagel House.

The Minicab arrives on the London scene, and the Metropolitan Police obtain 24 convictions for illegal plying for hire.

1962 The rate of indictable crimes for this year reaches an all time high – 214,120.

The series ‘Police 5’, designed to prevent crime, begins on BBC.

1963 The Commissioner, Joseph Simpson, stresses the need for the Beat system to reduce motorised patrols and deter incidents of crime.

The first computer to be used by the Met (an ICT 1301) was set up in the office of the Receiver for use on pay and crime statistics.

1964 The worst year so far this century for crime, with over a quarter of a million indictable crimes.

Regional Crime Squads formed.

Police face major criticism and complaints as a result of the Challenor Case, in which a policeman was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and made infamous for planting evidence.

1965 Special Patrol Group formed consisting of 100 officers. It arrested 396 people in its first 9 months of operation. First members of the Special Patrol Group
1966 The Commissioner’s Office and the Receiver’s Office are combined.
3 Metropolitan Police officers murdered at Shepherds Bush.
1967 The headquarters is moved from the Norman Shaw Building to a new building in Broadway, just off Victoria Street. The name of New Scotland Yard is retained.

Norwell Roberts joins the Met as the first black police officer. He retired after 30 years service with the rank of Detective Sergeant and received the QPM in 1996.

The Revolving Sign outside the new building
1968 Sir Joseph Simpson dies in service, and is replaced as Commissioner by John Waldron. Funeral of Sir Joseph Simpson
1969 MPS officers sent to offer assistance in the Anguilla crisis.

Serious Crime Squad becomes permanent.

PC Joe Kennett in Anguilla

Time Line 1970 – 1989

1970 Clear up rate on indictable crimes reaches 28%, the best since 1957.
1971 The Commissioner (John Waldron) in his annual report said “With deep and lasting traditions the Metropolitan Police is an impressive institution by every standard and in any company in the world.” Sir John Waldron
1972 Sir John Waldron is succeeded as Commissioner by Robert Mark.
1973 Robert Mark works to restore the integrity of the Metropolitan Police, and 90 officers leave as a result.

Mark establishes better relations with the media by setting out a policy of openness.

Women police are integrated directly into the force.

1974 The Peel Centre at Hendon is modernised and reopended as the Training School. training centre
1975 Robert Mark makes an appeal on television for ethnic recruits.

Balcombe Street and Spaghetti House sieges were both brought to successful conclusions by the Met.

Spaghetti House
1976 Major riot at Notting Hill Carnival, in which more than 400 officers and civilian staff were injured.
1977 David McNee becomes Commissioner after the retirement of Sir Robert Mark.
1978 An inquiry into police pay by Lord Edmund-Davies results in higher allowances and better pay to officers.
1979 The Metropolitan Police celebrates its 150th Anniversary.

A new Force Inspectorate is formed, to provide a close and continuing assessment of the efficiency of all units of the force.

1980 Iranian Embassy siege brought to a successful conclusion after co-operation between the Met and the Special Air Service Regiment.

Formation of Metropolitan Air Support Unit with its own Bell 222 helicopter.

helicopter
1981 Brixton Riots involve the Metropolitan Police in the largest civil disturbance this century. Brixton Riots
1982 Sir David McNee retires as Commissioner to be replaced by Sir Kenneth Newman.
1983 With the aid of the MPS Policy Committee Sir Kenneth Newman devises a new statement of the Principles of Policing, and in doing so changes the emphasis from the primary objectives of policing established by Richard Mayne and Sir Charles Rowan in 1829.
1984 PC Jon Gordon lost both legs and part of a hand in the IRA bomb attack on Harrods in 1983. On 10 December 1984 he resumed duty by walking unaided up the steps to his new office.

Whilst policing a demonstration in St James’s Square, WPC Yvonne Fletcher was shot in the back and mortally wounded by shots fired from the Libyan People’s Bureau. WPC Fletcher’s murder led to the creation of the Police Memorial Trust, an organisation dedicated to placing memorials at the locations of fallen officers

1985 Tottenham Riots (also known as ‘Broadwater Farm’ riot) result in the murder of PC Keith Blakelock.
1986 Identification Parade screens introduced at Clapham police station.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act comes into force in January.

Mounted Branch celebrates its 150th anniversary.

1987 Sir Kenneth Newman retires, and is replaced as Commissioner by Peter Imbert. Sir Peter Imbert
1988 The Commissioner stresses the need for close community liaison between the Police and Consultative Groups to foster the police / public partnership.
1989 ‘Plus Programme’ launched to improve the corporate image and quality of the service of the Metropolitan Police. It significantly altered attitudes within the MPS, and included the Statement of Common Purpose and Values.

Time Line 1990 – 1999

1990 Riot in Trafalgar Square mirrors the 1887 riot in the same location. Trafalgar Square Riot
1991 Sector Policing introduced, involving a team of officers with a continuing responsibility for the same small community area or sector.
1992 First 5 year Corporate Strategy published in February.
1993 Sir Peter Imbert retires, and is replaced as Commissioner by Sir Paul Condon.

Operation Bumblebee introduced on the 1 June and has a considerable impact on burglary in the capital.

The Charter is launched in September, defining the role of the Police and public expectation.

Sir Paul Condon
1994 Metropolitan Police Service key objectives established for the first time by the Government, plus key performance indicators.
1995 Metropolitan Police Committee formed on 1 April.

Crime Report Information System (CRIS) introduced. It revolutionises the means of recording crimes.

1996 ‘The London Beat’ published.

The MPS launches its Website at www.met.police.uk. Click here to find out more about this website.

1997 Installation of N.A.F.I.S. the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
1998 The Metropolitan Police launch the Policing Diversity Strategy in response to the majority of issues raised into the Inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence. The aim is to provide better protection to ethnic communities from racial and violent crime and demonstrate fairness in every aspect of policing.
1999 The handling of the Greek Embassy siege demonstrates the professionalism of the Metropolitan Police Service.

Time Line 2000-2009

2000 Sir Paul Condon retires and is replaced as Commissioner by Sir John Stevens.
Sir John issues his Policing Pledge for Londoners.
Sir John Stevens
2004 Wednesday 29 September was an historic day as the Met celebrated 175 years of policing London.
2005 Sir Ian Blair becomes Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Ian Blair
2008 Sir Ian Blair resigns from the post of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
2009 Sir Paul Stephenson becomes Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Paul Stephenson
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