Download e-book for iPad: Crime, Policing and Punishment in England, 1750–1914 by David Taylor

By David Taylor

One of many fastest-growing and most enjoyable parts of ancient examine in recent times has been the examine of crime and the legal. The intrinsic fascination of the topic is greater via the truth that among the mid eighteenth century and early 20th century, the English legal justice method was once essentially remodeled as a brand new disciplinary kingdom emerged. Drawing on fresh study, this publication presents a complete and up to date synthesis of those vital alterations.

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Extra resources for Crime, Policing and Punishment in England, 1750–1914

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The decline in the rate for all assaults (that is, common assault, aggravated assault and assault on the police) is dramatic. From an 1860s peak of around 420 per I 00 000 of population it had plummeted to around 120 by the prewar years. As one might expect, the figures are dominated by cases of common assault which were non-indictable. The figures may exaggerate the actual change in the level of violence in society during these years. The Criminal Registrar noted in the 1890s that there was a growing disinclination to prosecute trivial cases of assault.

Much depended upon the discretion of the individual prosecutor and for the police and magistrates involved in the case. For example, it is unclear why David Richardson was charged with assault at the Middlesbrough Petty Sessions in 1860 when his attack on Samuel Crompton resulted in the loss of an eye. 12 Even more surprising was the decision of a ° The Pattern of Crime 31 Maids tone magistrate in 1868 to sentence a local labourer,] ames Walter, to four months' imprisonment for cutting the throat ofhis wife.

Bessy Eccles, a servant, pleaded guilty in 1874 to the theft of six silver teaspoons, a pair of silver sugar tongs, a petticoat, a worsted scarf and a handkerchief from Jesse Eccles of Ampleforth. But not all victims were in this position. John Brooks, a sawyer, broke into a house in Middlesbrough, stealing shoes and clothing from two Irish labourers who lodged in the house. There were certain crimes against property, never large in number, most notably arson and machine breaking, which aroused considerable fear and condemnation.

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