Methods of combating crime

Methods of combating crime

Medieval England (c500-c1500)

  • Local Communities: Oversaw most matters regarding crime. They used systems like the hue and cry whereby a victim or witness would raise an alarm and everyone was obliged to join the pursuit.
  • Tithings: Groups of men bonded together, responsible for the behaviour of each other. If one committed a crime, the others were expected to bring him to justice.
  • Manor Courts: Handled minor disputes and misdemeanours in their local community.
  • Sheriffs and Constables: Appointed to keep the peace, track down criminals and run shire courts for more serious crimes.

Early Modern England (c500-c1700)

  • Justices of the Peace (JP): Acquired increasing powers and responsibilities, overseeing local affairs including crime and punishment.
  • Watchmen: Appointed in towns and cities to provide night-time security.
  • The Reformation: Introduced new laws against religious crimes and Heresy Acts gave authorities additional powers to prosecute.
  • Witch Hunts: Motivated by panic and fear, involving the local community and usually sanctioned by local authorities.

18th and 19th Century England

  • Bow Street Runners: Often seen as London’s first professional police force. Founded by Henry and John Fielding, they conducted investigations and pursued suspects.
  • Introduction of the Police: The Metropolitan Police Act (1829) established a full-time, professional and centrally-organised police force in London.
  • Development of Prisons: More prisons were built and reforms introduced to improve conditions, focusing on rehabilitation rather than just punishment.
  • Introduction of Transportation: Offenders transported to colonies like Australia as a way of deterring crime.

20th Century and Beyond

  • Continued Evolution of the Police Service: Development of various departments and units to address specific types of crime e.g., Fraud Squad, Traffic Police etc.
  • Improvements in Forensics: Enhanced abilities to solve crimes and secure convictions.
  • Cybersecurity Measures: Responses to new types of crime such as cybercrime.
  • CCTV and Surveillance: Increase in the use of technology for crime prevention and detection.
  • Community Initiatives: Strategies to include communities in crime prevention, e.g., Neighbourhood Watch schemes.