There were many things involved in law and order in London, however a key element was the rising levels of crime in the east end, which caused the creation of policing. There were many reasons that there was a high level of crime in the east end, but most of it is due to the poor living conditions they were forced to live in.
In the 19th Century the east end was mostly associated with poverty and horrible living conditions. Many places such as Shore ditch, White chapel and Hackney were known as “Slum Areas”.Slums are areas where there are many over populated houses where people are forced to live in horrible living conditions. The houses were swarming with disease; this led to crime because many poor people wanted anything they could get. There was a huge amount of unemployment in the east end, some of this because of immigrants, so there were many poor people without jobs, living in terrible living conditions wanting money, this caused a huge increase in crime. In the east end there was a large amount of crime, 75% of recorded crime was petty theft and only 10% was violent; murder was extremely rare.People were led to believe that murder was very common, by cheap newspapers called ” penny dreadfuls”, the public read these over exaggerated articles and believe that everyone was at risk. Pickpockets were very successful in London, they worked in small groups and did very well for themselves but with this crime increase also came organized policing.
Before policing was created there were only watchmen and if ever riots broke out the army would have to be brought in. This is why the MET was brought in. They were nick named “The London Bobby’s” at first after the founder Robert peel.
In 1851 an article in Punch stated that ” The police are beginning to take place…
the blue coats, the defenders of order, are becoming the national favourites”. The polices’ main task was to deal with drunkenness, beggars, vagrants and prostitutes. The MET had a great impact in crime and were liked by most of the public however this reputation wasn’t shared by the middle class because they believe police weren’t doing enough to help them, they also believed that police weren’t very well trained. This is in some ways true, police received very little training but they did progress throughout the 19th century.However this reputation that they had built up was hit badly in 1886 on a day called “Bloody Sunday” this was when many people were injured or killed in a big riot, they became very unpopular because they were to heavy handed and people didn’t like it.
To add to this people also felt that the police weren’t doing enough to stop “Jack the Ripper”. In 1877 the CID was set-up or otherwise known as the Criminal Investigations Department. They consisted of 800 detectives and did more in debt investigations than the police on murders.
With the police improving and more criminals being caught, sentencing was put under strain. In the 19th century prisons were a lot different from today, inmates were isolated and each one had there own cell, no communication could be made and this made it very mentally hard on the prisoners. Public executions were also very popular until 1868 when they were abolished. So we have seen how law and order has developed through the 19th century, policing has been developed due to a rise in crime and this has caused crime to decrease. Policing has hugely improved and London has taken one step closer to being civilized.