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by Peter Moskos

October 11, 2011

The more things change... October 11, 1829

Any man reported for endearvouring to conceal his number, or refusing to shew (sic) or tell it when properly asked, will be dismissed, as such concealment or denial can only be caused by having done something he is ashamed of.

Source: Metropolitan Police. Instructions Orders &c. &c. 1836. London: W. Clowes & Sons.

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


Anonymous said...

Were officers ever actually dismissed for those offenses then?
Are they now?
Genuinely curious.

PCM said...

Back then, yes. A lot of officers were fired for everything and everything. Turnover was very high.

You could still get fired for such a thing today, but it's unlikely (a reprimanded would be more likely). It's a lot harder to fire any worker with civil-service and union protection.

Today the accuser would need proof. Not so back then. In cases of "he-said she-said" back then, the benefit of the doubt was often given to the public. And if the commissioner wanted to fire you, he could. There was no due-process of right of appeal. And to top it off, the police department would keep your backwages since last payday.

Anonymous said...

So I guess things do change, and don't always stay the same.