The British Bobby - Scottish Diaspora
Laurie Taylor explores the myths and enduring realities of the British police with Clive Emsley and Dick Hobbs.
Robert Peel brought the Metropolitan Police Force into being in 1829; it was a centralised body of 3,000 uniformed men expected to patrol designated areas. They were the original 'Bobbies on the Beat'. However, in an age of mass public protests, Chartism and agitation for electoral reform, the police were founded more as a response to a crisis in public order than in a move to protect private property. The Weekly Dispatch of 1829 warned, 'The New Police is a military body employed in civil duties ... it is a powerful engine in the hands of government, and may be employed for the suppression of public freedom.' How much has changed?
Laurie also discusses the worldwide influence of the Scottish diaspora and asks why such an enormous number Scots left their country of birth even when times were good. Tom Devine enlightens Laurie ahead of his talk at the Festival of Politics in Edinburgh.