Bow Street Runners

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  • In 1749, Henry Fielding founded what is widely regarded as London's first pro fessional, organized police force. It consisted of formally paid constables who served writs (written orders from a judicial body) and made arrests by traveling throughout the country on behalf of the Bow Street magistrate, or judge. The Bow Street Runners replaced “thief catchers,” who were unorganized and prone to corruption by the offenders they were pursuing. In 1792, additional offices based on the Bow Street model were put in place, serving as the basis for the future Scotland Yard.


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