Metropolitan Police in Victorian London
Upon Sir Robert Peel being appointed as Home Secretary in 1822, he established a second and more effective committee, and acted upon its findings. Robert Peel, believing that the way to standardise the police was to make it an official paid profession, to organise it in a civilian fashion, and to make it answerable to the public. After he presented his ideas to Parliament, they were approved and made official with the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829.
Due to public fears concerning the deployment of the military in domestic matters, Robert Peel organised the force along civilian lines, rather than paramilitary. To appear neutral, the uniform was deliberately manufactured in blue, rather than red which was then a military colour, along with the officers being armed only with a wooden truncheon and a rattle to signal the need for assistance. Along with this, police ranks did not include military titles, with the exception of Sergeant.
From the Metropolitan Police's foundation, the force had relied on the use of hand rattles for officers to signal the need for assistance.
Since the MPS's inception, the force has been headed by a Commissioner, rather than a Chief Constable which is the highest rank in police forces outside London.
Metropolitan Police patrols took to the streets on 29 September 1829, despite resistance from certain elements of the community who saw them to be a threat to civil liberties. The initial force consisted of two Commissioners, eight Superintendents, 20 Inspectors, 88 Sergeants and 895 Constables. Patrolling the streets within a seven-mile (11 km) radius of Charing Cross, in order to prevent crime and pursue offenders. Between 1829 and 1830, 17 local divisions each with its own police station were established, each lettered A to V, allocating each London borough with a designated letter. These divisions were: A (Westminster); B (Chelsea); C (Mayfair and Soho); D (Marylebone); E (Holborn); F (Kensington); G (Kings Cross); H (Stepney); K (West Ham); L (Lambeth); M (Southwark); N (Islington); P (Peckham); R (Greenwich); S (Hampstead); T (Hammersmith) and V (Wandsworth). In 1865 three more divisions were created, W (Clapham); X (Willesden) and Y (Tottenham); J Division (Bethnal Green) was added in 1886.
In 1839, the Bow Street Runners, the Foot and Horse Patrol and the Thames River Police were amalgamated with the Metropolitan Police. However, the City of London Police, created in the same year was an independent force. In 1842 taking over a function formerly the responsibility of the Runners, a new investigative force was formed as the "Detective Branch". And first consisted of; two Inspectors, six Sergeants and a number of Constables.
It took some time to establish the standards of discipline expected today from a police force. In 1863, 215 officers were arrested for being intoxicated while on duty, In 1872 there was a police strike, and during 1877 three high ranking detectives were tried for corruption at the Old Bailey. Due to this latter scandal the Detective Branch was re-organised in 1878 by C. E. Howard Vincent, and renamed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). This was separated from the uniformed branch and its head had direct access to the Home Secretary, by-passing the Commissioner.
Special Constables were first introduced by the Special Constables Act 1831, empowering Magistrates to appoint ordinary citizens as temporary police officers in times of emergency. In 1834, the Act was extended to allow citizens appointed as Specials to act outside of their Parish area. In 1848, 150,000 Specials were sworn in, to assist regular officers in preventing Chartists from reaching Kennington, and then marching to Westminster.