It seems that Scotland had a professional police force in 1800 located in Glasgow. It did not seem to operate in other Scottish.
In 1829, crime in the big city of London resulted in a politician called Robert Peel introducing “The Metropolitan Police Act of 1829. Mr. Peel had the rank of Home Secretary and was in charge of law and order under the Prime Minister. At first, people distrusted the police men (no women, yet).
The “Peelers” or “Bobbies.”
It is easy to see how the policemen were called “Peelers” (after Mr. Peel) but how did the get the name “Bobbies?” Well, Mr. Peel’s first name was Robert, or Bobbie or Bob. There were 144 constables (British police are often referred to today by this old name). Their headquarters was Scotland Yard.
This is still the headquarters of MI5, MI6 – special detective branches similar to the FBI. MI5 – Domestic intelligence (within the British Isles) and MI6 – foreign intelligence. Interestingly, that makes the famous James Bond (007) a member of MI6.
The Uniform of London “Bobbies.”
The ‘Peelers’ wore a long blue coats. Their tall hats were tough so that they could stand on them – to peep into windows or over walls. The strong hats saved brain damage if a criminal hit a ‘Peeler’ over the head. This police force did not carry guns.
They carried a strong wooden stick called a truncheon. If a police man was attacked, he could raise an alarm by shaking a rattle.
(No telephones or iphones). Here is a picture of a Sergeant Mansbridge in 1864 he worked in the town of Sussex – not too far from London.
Success Leads to a Nation-Wide Police Force
It took some time, but soon “Peelers” or the police were in other cities and towns throughout England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Nearly every country in the world has a police force. Here are different uniforms of today’s London police officers – men and women.