Henry Fielding-Father of Modern Policing
HenryFielding-Father of Modern Policing
HenryFielding-Father of Modern Policing
HenryFielding was an English writer born in England in 1707. Aftercompleting his education, he emerged ready to tackle the literaryworld. Fielding began writing novels after becoming an editor of theChampion, which was a satirical political publication. Jonathan Wild(1743), Abraham Adams (1742), and the Adventures of Joseph Andrews(1742) are the novels that he composed during that time. Even thoughFielding was unable to discover meaningful work, he started studyinglaw and became an attorney. Although it is uncertain when the firstlaw-enforcement agencies began operating, Fielding holds asignificant place in the history of law implementation as he was thefather of modern policing due to various reasons.
HenryFielding was connected with the growth of the first modern policeorganizations in England. Various researchers suggested that a formalsystem of law-enforcement evolved in England ("Police:History – The Beginning of "modern" Policing in England",n.d.).In the field of policing, Fielding was attributed with two majorcontributions after accepting the magistrate position of Bow StreetCourt. To begin with, he advocated change and spread awareness aboutissues associated with criminals and the society. Notably, this wasdone through his writings (Campbell,& Ohm, 2012).At the same time, he established a group recognized as the Bow StreetRunners, which was formed by non-uniformed citizens who were incharge of investigating offenses as well as arraigning the offenders.Even though citizens responsible for social control were reacting towrongdoings, the Bow Street Runners added the responsibility ofanticipating crimes using preventive patrol as well as changing thesystem of policing.
Duringthe Industrial Revolution, a significant growth of population inBritish cities led to an increase in crimes. To this effect, thescope of officers’ responsibility started preventing the crimes.Henry Fielding, the first magistrate of London in 1748, was appointedto prosecute criminals. Aside from that, he founded the Bow StreetRunners, which was considered the first British police force (Brown,& Davenport, 2012).The force included a band of eight constables who served writs andarrested offenders. Initially, private citizens and singleindividuals with little intervention from the state were controllingthe system of law. Other issues such as high rates of corruption andmistaken arrests made Fielding decide the right way of regulating andlegalizing their activity is by creating the Bow Street Runners.
Fieldingalso implemented programs of using other thieves to catch theircolleagues. Notably, those who provided any useful information wererepaid with a particular rate of fines gathered when the othersthieves were arraigned. In fact, Bow Street Runners were paid throughpublic funds that underlined the arrest of offenders in addition toinvestigating crimes and arresting the culprits involved. To thiseffect, Bow Street Runners started to travel across the countrysearching for criminals. Although they were classified as men who cansolve petty crimes for a fee, they represented a regularization andformalization of existing policing techniques ("Police:History – The Beginning of "modern" Policing in England",n.d.).In fact, their formal attachment to the office of the Bow Streetmagistrate as well as the payment they received from the centralgovernment made them different. Even though they worked out of theFielding’s office, they played a significant role in apprehendingcriminals across the nation.
Notably,Henry Fielding’s brother, Justice John Fielding, carried out mostof the work and made Henry become the judge in the Bow Street office.While his brother was in control, the Bow Street Runners foundationgained more acknowledgment from the government. In spite of the factthat it was funded intermittently in the following years, the forceworked as the guiding source for the process in which policing woulddevelop in the next couple of years (Campbell,& Ohm, 2012).Starting from London, Bow Street Runners were an indication of themovement towards expanding professionalization and controlling thestate of street life.
However,the modern policing may be attributed to that of the Bow Streetsystem. The role of Bow Street Runners was to monitor and preventcrime, which is similar to that of the current police officers.Moreover, they used preventive patrol to maintain a visible presence,and this can be observed in the modern policing where a policeofficer conducts patrol every day to ensure that there is securityfor everyone. At the same time, the current policing uses some spiesto gather information or capture criminals. However, it is clear thatthis method was borrowed from the Bow Street Runners who were usingother criminals to apprehend their colleagues at a fee. Additionally,the organizational structure of the Bow Street Runners also had asignificant impact on modern policing because things like rankdesignations and the authoritarian systems have been observed in thecurrent regime.
Fromthe above information, it is clear that Henry Fielding was the fatherof modern policing because the systems of the latter are borrowedfrom the Bow Street Runners. Furthermore, he was responsible for theformation of the Bow Street Runners, which played a significant rolein controlling and preventing crimes. Although Fielding also used hiswritings to advocate social change and spread awareness, it isapparent that he had a major contribution to the development of themodern policing.
Brown,R., & Davenport, J. (2012). Forensicscience: Advanced investigations.Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Campbell,A., & Ohm, R. C. (2012). Legalease: A guide to criminal law, evidence, and procedure.(3rded.) Springfield, Ill: Charles C. Thomas.
Police:History – The beginning of "modern" policing inEngland. Law.jrank.org.Retrieved fromhttp://law.jrank.org/pages/1639/Police-History-beginning-modern-policing-in-England.html
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