‘Policing the Peelers’: Parliament, the Public, and the Metropolitan Police, 1829–33

  • David A. Campion


The year 1833 was a difficult one for the Metropolitan Police. In August, the House of Commons convened two separate committees of inquiry to investigate alleged misconduct and abuses of authority among the rank and file of the organization. Prompted by concerns raised in these investigations, parliament then convened a third committee to review the overall state of the police. The 1833 investigations constituted the first significant governmental scrutiny of law enforcement after the Police Act of 1829 that had replaced London’s localized networks of night watchmen and parish constables with Sir Robert Peel’s centrally controlled and organized Metropolitan Police. The subsequent investigations brought to the forefront of British public attention the acute political controversies that had surrounded the ‘New’ Police since its inception four years earlier. They helped determine, as much as the establishment of the Metropolitan Police itself, the model that urban policing would follow in Britain for the rest of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century.


Police Department Select Committee Metropolitan Police False Identity Police Misconduct 
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© David A. Campion 2005

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  • David A. Campion

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