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by Peter Moskos

September 29, 2011

The more things change... September 29, 1829

Here’s the very first new rule, just a few months into London’s experiment with the New Police (and London probably didn’t really even have the first police department, either). Apparently, back in the good old days, officers were drinking, had a bit of a temper, carried umbrellas and other weapons, engaging in idle chit chat, and hide their identification numbers:
September 29, 1829.—Police Constables should take timely warning from the dismissals that have already taken place; for they may rest assured that no man will be suffered to remain a day on the Police Force who shall be found in the slightest degree intoxicated on Duty; they are also particularly cautioned not to pay attention to any ignorant or silly expressions of ridicule that may be made use of towards them personally, all which they must feel to be beneath their notice.

They are forbidden to carry sticks or umbrellas in their hands when on Duty.

They are also strictly forbidden to enter into conversation with any person whatever, except on matters relative to their Duty.

The Police Constables are particularly desired immediately to give their names, and the Division they belong to, to any person demanding it, until the whole have their clothing and numbered hat-covers for the night Duty.
Source: Metropolitan Police. Instructions Orders &c. &c. 1836. London: W. Clowes & Sons.

[I'm on break. Regular blogging will resume in February.]

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