The force was established on April 1, 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, and was mostly a successor to the York and North East Yorkshire Police, with a portion of the previous West Riding Constabulary's jurisdiction included. The new force was given the power to investigate crimes against persons and property, enforce regulations, issue warrants, make arrests, and provide general security within an area that included most of York and the surrounding counties.
Before the creation of the West Riding Force, law enforcement in the region was the responsibility of two separate forces: York City Police, which covered urban areas within the city limits; and the West Riding Constabulary, which served rural and suburban areas outside the city walls. The latter force had its origins in 1829 when the government of William IV appointed six magistrates to hold court in each of the six towns in the West Riding (York, Leeds, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Barnsley and Calderdale). These men were allowed to appoint constables as required, but not officers below inspector level. When the town of Selby was incorporated into Leeds in 1844, a seventh magistrate was added for it, and this position is now represented on the circuit by an assistant chief constable. There are still seven districts in the West Riding district council area, with their own district police offices.
Almost all police forces were formed identically, and their primary responsibility was to prevent crime and maintain order. In the late 1800s, the New York Police Department. Chicago's police department was the largest in the country. The Los Angeles Police Department was founded in 1879.
Although police officers received uniform salaries, they worked under the authority of mayors and city managers who hired and fired them. Mayors often chose members of the clergy as police chaplains because of their moral influence over officers. However, not all cities with religious identities included a priest on the police force. Some cities had ministers serve as police chaplains instead.
Many cities with large immigrant populations also had bilingual police departments. These officers usually served as spokespeople for their communities by speaking English to average citizens and Spanish to anyone who might be involved in criminal activity.
In addition to preventing crime and maintaining order, some police officers performed other duties. They made arrests when necessary, conducted search warrants, and confiscated illegal weapons. A few cities with small populations such as San Francisco had police officers perform administrative tasks such as filling out paperwork. Others had officers work solely as watchmen or guards. These men would patrol neighborhoods looking for danger and alert police officers if they saw anything suspicious.
The County and Borough Police Act 1856, often known as the Police Act 1856 (19 & 20 Vict c 69), was a United Kingdom Act of Parliament. From 1839 through 1893, it was one of the Police Acts. The Act mandated the formation of a police force in any county that had not previously organized a constabulary. These new forces were to be uniformed and authorized to arrest persons either inside or outside their counties. They could also investigate crimes committed within their districts if they were unable to obtain assistance from local magistrates or the regular police force of the metropolis.
The Act was designed to improve law and order in England's growing industrial cities by providing a single authority for hiring officers and collecting fees in all counties. Before this time, there were no general laws governing the appointment of police officers; each city or town had managed its own affairs in this respect. As a result, there were large numbers of poorly trained detectives working in these cities who were only able to handle cases involving serious crime such as robbery. Hiring officers under the control of a county council or borough council would ensure that sufficient funds were available to hire more competent staff and purchase better equipment for their departments.
Cities that formed their own police forces before the County and Borough Police Act 1856 included Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, York.
A succession of laws gave county and borough governments around the country the authority to establish police units in their respective districts. The Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 empowered municipalities outside of London to establish their own police forces. The County Police Act of 1839 empowered each county to establish its own police force. The Metropolitan Police Act of 1849 established a police force for the city of London, making it the first metropolitan police service in the world.
All cities and most counties with populations over 100,000 have their own police departments today. Although many smaller communities still rely on the police services of larger neighboring cities, almost all large cities have police departments of their own now as well. In fact, there are more than 7,000 police departments in the United States. They employ about 150,000 people and spend about $7 billion per year.
Cities and counties began setting up police departments after controversies over police misconduct came before the public. For example, officers of the New York City Police Department were accused of physically attacking innocent citizens and using excessive force during arrests. This led to the formation of a police commission, which conducted an extensive review of department policies and practices. The results of this review were incorporated into new legislation that created the office of police commissioner for the city. Today, every city with a population over 25,000 has a police commissioner.
The Los Angeles Police Department was criticized for its use of deadly force.
Scotland Yard The London police force was established in 1829 by an act proposed in Parliament by Sir Robert Peel, the home secretary (hence the nicknames "bobbies" and "peelers" for policemen). This police force took over the previous watchmen system and eventually succeeded the River (Thames) Police and the Bow Street patrols,...
Canada's oldest law enforcement agency was founded in 1665. Called the New York City Police Department until 1973, when it was renamed after its current headquarters, this police force has been at the forefront of American policing since its inception.
Australia's first police force was founded in Melbourne on January 1, 1853. It was called the Metropolitan Police Service and consisted of 24-man teams who rode on horseback through the streets of Melbourne investigating crimes.
The United States' first police department was formed in Boston in 1625. It was called the Boston Watchmen Police Department and they only had authority within the city limits. They were replaced by a county police force outside of town limits in 1754.
England's first police force was formed in London in 1665. It was called the Metropolitan Police Service and they only had authority within the city limits. They were replaced by a national police force under the Home Secretary in 1829.