In the 18th century law enforcement and policing was organised by local communities based on watchmen and constables; the government was not directly involved in policing. The City of Glasgow Police, the first professional police, was established following an Act of Parliament in 1800. London had a population of nearly a million and a half people in the early 19th century but was policed by only 450 constables and 4,500 night watchmen. The concept of professional policing was taken up by Sir Robert Peel when he became Home Secretary in 1822. Peel’s Metropolitan Police Act 1829 established a full-time, professional and centrally-organised police force for the greater London area known as the Metropolitan Police. Legislation in the 1830s introduced policing in boroughs and many counties and, in the 1850s, policing was established nationally.
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