The History of the Police
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the History of the Police.----more----
The first police were in Ancient Egypt. They were used to guard markets and temples. They had sticks to beat criminals with. They also used animals to help. They had trained monkeys and dogs who helped them catch baddies.
In Ancient Greece they also had police. Every city was different. In Athens they used special slaves as police to keep order during meetings.
We get the word Police from the Greek word “Polis” which means City.
The Romans had lots of different types of police. They had the vigiles who used to stop criminals, catch escaping slaves and guard the Roman baths. When things got tricky they would call on the urban cohort. They were more like soldiers than police. They would deal with riots and treason.
Roman officials also had their own bodyguards. They were called Lictors and they used to carry rods with them called Fasces. They would hit anyone who got in their way. Nowadays some bad governments like the Nazis are called Fascist governements and they get their name from the Fasces that the Lictors used to carry.
Almost all societies have had some sort of police – whether they were the Chinese, Indian or South American societies in the past.
In England the Saxons had a different system. They divided up families into groups of ten families. The head of on the families was in charge. He had to make sure that people obeyed the law, catch anyone who didn’t and then punish them.
Once the Normans conquered England they changed things to made them more organized. They created the job of constable. This was paid for by the King.
However, it was the French who made the first proper police force. King Louis XIV wanted Paris to be better run. He created a police force for the city. Later it got uniforms and became the first police force with uniforms.
Meanwhile, Britain was struggling. Constables used to pay ordinary people to catch criminals. However, often they would catch ordinary people and try and claim the money. One judge got so annoyed he set up his own thief catchers called the Bow Street Runners. Glasgow copied the French and made a police force for the city.
Eventually, the government in Britain made a police force for London called the Metropolitan Police. The special thing about this was that the founder, Sir Robert Peel, said that the job of the police was to serve the people. He also said they the police had to enforce the law and not just do what the government wanted.
Other colonies of Britain copied her. Places like Australia and Canada set up their own versions. Even America made police forces for her cities that were based on the same ideas.
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