History GCSE: The Founding of the Police Force

Lawyer Harry Potter explains how Robert Peel and his reform of the criminal justice system brought to an end the system known as The Bloody Code.

With only the Riot Act as a means of restoring order Peel now sought to reform how the law was enforced through the creation of a professional police force.

Former Home Secretary Douglas Hurd explains why there was opposition to Peel’s police force.

Peel argued that the role of the police was to control crime rather than the people.

This short film is from the BBC series, The Strange Case of the Law.

Teacher Notes

Students could identify key words while watching this short film.

They could explore and evaluate ways of dealing with disorder through the use of the Riot Act by considering examples such as the 2011 riots and Peterloo.

Why were people so afraid of a police force?

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching GCSE history and social studies. This topic appears in OCR, AQA, Edexcel, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

More from The Strange Case of the Law:

Habeas Corpus and Slavery
video
Henry II, Thomas Becket and the Church Courts
video
John Lilburne and Habeas Corpus
video
Saxon Law - Compensation
video
Saxon Law - Courts
video
Saxon Law - Punishments
video
Star Chamber and the Rack
video
The Bloody Code
video
The Conventicle Act of 1664 and the Independence of the Jury
video
The Jury
video
The Petition of Right and Habeas Corpus
video
Saxon Law - Trial by Ordeal
video