On this day in history : 29th September 1829 – The inauguration of the Metropolitan Police Service, London – giving England its first professional police force….

Set up by the then Home Secretary, Robert Peel, after ‘The Metropolitan Police Act 1829’, the policemen became known as ‘Bobbies’ and ‘Peelers’…. The headquarters, which was to become known as ‘Scotland Yard’ had 17 divisions, each with 4 inspectors and 144 constables – all answering to the Home Secretary….

Sir Robert Peel by Henry William Pickersgill – Public domain

It all got off to a bit of a ropey start…. Out of the 2,800 newly recruited policemen only 600 managed to meet the grade and keep their jobs…. The policeman given the unique identification ‘No.1’ (often called the ‘collar number’) was sacked after just 4 hours for drunkenness…. But things soon settled down and the Metropolitan Police went on to become amongst the finest police services of the world….

A ‘Peeler’ of the Metropolitan Police Service in the 1850s – Public domain

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