Little Bits of History

The Met

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 29, 2011

Traditional light outside Metropolitan Police Stations (photo by Canley)

September 29, 1829: The Metropolitan Police of London is founded. Today, called the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), this group is responsible for Greater London’s security, except for the “square mile” of London under the protection of the City of London Police. They are also tasked with coordinating and leading efforts against terrorism as well as protection of the British Royal Family and some senior officials of the government.

As of February 2011, the MPS had 52,111 personnel. This included 33,358 sworn police officers, 4,226 Special Constables, 14,332 civilian police staff, and 4,520 non-sworn Police Community Support Officers. There are also volunteers to help things run smoothly. MPS is the largest police force in Great Britain and one of the largest in the world. Their annual budget is £4.1 billion. (The cost in 1829 was £194,126.) The boss is called the Commissioner and the first to hold that post were Sir Charles Rowan and Sir Richard Mayne. Sir Paul Stephenson resigned the position in July after the News International phone hacking scandal broke. Tim Godwin is the Acting Commissioner.

The MPS is responsible for patrolling 32 London boroughs. The City of London is not considered a borough so it has its own force. Headquarters are at New Scotland Yard and there are 180 stations throughout the greater London region. The MPS has 22 boats for use as well as 3 helicopters. There are 250 dogs on the force, too. Their ranks are divided into twelve levels beginning with Special Constable and ending with the Commissioner’s post. Each rank has a particular badge and these along with the officer’s badge number must always be visible.

In order to cover the 32 separate boroughs, the MPS maintains a fleet of more than 8,000 vehicles. Area cars are used for patrol and pursuit duties, incident response vehicles respond to emergencies, traffic units, protected, carriers, control units, armored vehicles, and assorted others complete the list. Most of these have a service life of three to five years. In the early days, there was far less crime with 20,000 crimes reported in the area served in 1829. In 1998 there were 934,254 crimes reported. Probably the most famous crime spree covered by the MPS was the Whitechapel murders, Jack the Ripper’s crime spree.

“A police force, wherever they are, is made up of amazing people, and I respect them a great deal.” – Nancy McKeon

“And it is crucial of course that chief constables are able to make decisions within their budgets about how they deploy their police officers to the greatest effect to ensure that they’re able to do the job that the public want them to do.” – Theresa May

“Chemists employed by the police can do remarkable things with blood. They can weave it into a rope to hang a man.” – Margery Allingham

“I hadn’t realized until I covered the police beat just how seedy crime is.” – Jessica Savitch

Also on this day:
Come Up and See Me Some Time – In 1650, the first documented dating service opens in England.
Physics – In 1954, CERN was established.

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