Banks Paperback, Status Available. Call number Series Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner. Tags fic , mys , DNF. Genres Mystery.
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Publication Dell , pages. Description June User reviews LibraryThing member Romonko. The setting is London in June The femme fatale is a famous London actress by the name of Arabella Malibrant. There are too many villains to name, but there are quite a few notable ones in this book which is the first book in the Memories of a Bow Street Runner series. Also the Fieldings introduced printed circulars on crime and wanted persons, which were distributed throughout the country as a precursor to the Police Gazette.
Alas, virtually no records appear to have survived from this fascinating period of police history. Another development in London at the end of the 18th Century was the introduction in of a Marine Police. This service owed a great deal to the ideas of Patrick Colquhoun, one of the Middlesex Justices. Initially the service was funded by the West Indian merchants to prevent thefts. In however the organisation was put under the Thames Police Office, a further example of the Bow Street model under the Act.
During the early years of the 19th Century various experimental mounted, unmounted, day and night patrols operated at different times from Bow Street while the politicians wrestled with the problems of reconciling English freedom and the need to control crime and public order by effective policing. There were hundreds of these in existence in different locations.
They were essentially local associations of householders or landowners who paid a subscription to a fund which was used to assist any members who became the victims of crime. The association would usually advertise a reward following an offence committed against a member and would also pay the fees of a Bow Street Runner or a thieftaker together with prosecution expenses in certain cases. Some Associations were general in their application while others were specifically formed to deal with certain types of crime, such as poaching or horse stealing.
Detailed records of many of these Associations survive in County Record Offices.
The Thief-Taker (Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner #1) by T.F. Banks
The records often include membership lists as well as details of crimes committed against members. Many Associations continued in existence until the second half of the 19th Century and a handful still exist — now operating as dining clubs. Another feature of this period was the professional thieftaker who carried out a very specific role in tracing and arresting offenders either for a fee or for a reward, upon conviction, paid by the Government, the loser or a local Association.
After many previous attempts to modernise the largely inadequate policing arrangements of the London area, the Metropolitan Police was formed by Sir Robert Peel. These two tireless individuals built up the force from nothing to a large and well-organised body in a matter of mere months. For most of the 19th Century the bulk of the Constables recruited to the Metropolitan Police originated from outside London, many in fact being agricultural labourers.
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In this year the Municipal Corporations Commissioners toured the country examining the state of affairs one local government in the incorporated boroughs. One subject examined was the state of policing in each borough. Although the first modern police date from there were more rudimentary police forces in many towns prior to that date and the ubiquitous Parish Constable was to be found everywhere.
In there was a legislative change which had far reaching effects on local policing. The Lighting and Watching Ac t of that year could be adopted locally by a certain number of property owners following a simple procedure of calling a properly constituted meeting purpose and appointing Inspectors from their number.
They were then empowered to levy a rate and, among other things, to appoint policemen. This Act was adopted in a great many places, usually where the system of Parochial Constables was failing to meet the needs of the community. As the Act only provided for local inhabitants to pay for their own policing there must generally have been some problem in existence which residents were prepared to pay to solve. In some instances these items relating to rating appeals may be the only remaining indicating of the existence of a Lighting and Watching Ac t force. If minute books of accounts survive they usually contain details of all the ratepayers attending meetings and paying rates.
Minute books can also be a rich source of material with detailed accounts of appointments, indiscretions, achievements and general activities of the appointed full-time and temporary supernumerary officers. Occasionally a real gem will survive in the form of the day book of some little force which will literally contain a daily blow-by-blow account of policing in the often barely literate words of the officers of the day. These lighting and watching forces usually existed at the parish of small town level and may only have employed one or two policemen.
Luckily, the romantic descriptions in the book are mere hugging and kissing, so I will be able to loan this book to my grandmother without worry. I very much enjoyed The Thief Taker , and heartily recommend it to fans of Victorian mysteries.
Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner
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