Law and Order in London in the late 19th Century

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Last updated: November 5, 2019

The Industrial Revolution had a major impact on law and order in the late 19th century because of various reasons. These included the causes of crimes and above all the types of crime.

Furthermore, the media played an important role in which to influence law and order by exaggerating the conditions. Moreover, the Police Revolution had its methods to overcome crime but, was it trustworthy? Nevertheless, the Punishment Revolution was introduced at the time to reduce the crime waves but in fact, it increased the levels of crime.To add, the Judicial System wasn’t respected at all because no serious investigations where carried out and most importantly weak punishments where given out.

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Most of the crimes where stimulated from poverty, unemployment, population growth as well as heavy drinking that lead to these severe conditions. Also, inequalities were a major purpose that contributed to the causes of crimes. The citizens organised riots, protests and demonstrations that furthermore where the causes of horrible crimes which where impossible to prevent.The crimes differed widely as crime rose. Common crimes that where committed were pick pocketing, garrotting and finally horrible murders. A significant factor that affected the crimes both mentally as well as physically were the sensationalism of the media because they presented the crimes to the public which in some aspects wasn’t truthful. This clearly affected on peoples perceptions which lead to terror amongst them. The government couldn’t stop most rumours that where brought forward by the media.

This complicated the process of avoiding crimes. Compared to those times, the crimes have reduced in quantity but increased in types. Furthermore, the crimes in the 19th century are still remaining today such as murders, theft etc. The attitudes towards crime have been more considerate reflecting on the past.

The enforcement of the police meant that the people would be protected in good and bad times. The law was carried out primarily by the citizens chosen by the king and they where helped by the constables and watchmen.The population grew causing the crimes to escalate.

For that reason they needed to do something in order to restore order. The duties of the policemen were to protect the innocent and fight the threats in the society. The policemen weren’t qualified in terms of catching the criminals and above all, to strike at the right time. Their methods of policing were simply disastrous. The irony is that, Instead of protecting the people from criminals they put them at high risk. There where huge controversies concerning the image of the police.Most people didn’t like change and the fact that they didn’t like to be told what to do.

They also thought that their freedom of speech and democracy would be crushed. The technology today is more sophisticated. Moreover, the police are highly trained and more committed to their jobs. Even today, police are corrupt but, the techniques in which they use have improved fundamentally. The Punishments where established on the purpose to diminish crimes and furthermore, to rehabilitate the convicts.

Punishments where used in different forms.Fines, whipping and capital punishments were only a few that where used to frighten the criminals. Prisons where also operating but, they were less brutal because they didn’t need pay to get out. However, on good behaviour they could be released earlier called ‘ticket of leave’.

By 1900 there were separate prisons for men and women and the children were sent to Borstals where they could be reformed. The main principle of punishment was to reform the criminals in preference to getting rid of them. In 1865 prisons where reformed (The prison act) because current prisons were too lenient.More hard labour began and the sentence changed to minimum five years. Noticeably, punishments didn’t prevent crime.

In truth, it only expanded crime. As the prisons improved larger cells where built and the criminals where checked regularly. Compared to the past, today punishments are valued to the crimes. Yet today, people argue about punishments. In the late 19th century there was both change and continuity in the judicial system. The major changes concerned the police taking the role of prosecuting criminals followed by bow street runners.

In the justice system the juries have existed throughout and evidence have been used mostly right through. The trials consisted of a Judge, Juries, Defence Lawyers, Prosecuting Lawyers and most importantly the Accused. Overall, not much change took place. In conclusion, throughout the times the police enforcement changed the most because the communication, weapons and transport has a major impact on law and order today.

The attitudes towards law and order has changed enormously and had positive affect.

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