One issue in attempting to explicate a history of crime control in the United Kingdom is that crime statistics were not kept before 1805 and thus all endeavours to reconstruct the state of crime before then must be gathered from, at times, shady court records (Emsley 204). The genesis of modern crime control is often attributed, by most Whig historians, to the establishment of the Metropolitan Police in 1829 by then Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel (Sharpe 6). The traditional historical account suggests that this was prompted by the rising rates of crime throughout London and other increasingly urbanized areas in the north and midlands, and the perceived outmoded inadequacy of the previous system of parish constables and watchmen, which had shown its impotence in such situations as the Gordon Riots in 1780 (Emsley 211). The elevation of crime control measures from primarily local and discretionary mechanisms to centralized and homogenous is a general trend that is in part due to the growth of London and other large cities, and the attendant concerns of urban populism mandated greater national implementation of crime management techniques (Emsley 226). One possible explanation for this is that urban environments present a more complex and interconnected social dynamic, which can more easily breakdown with more disastrous results, than in the more agrarian and rural milieu that dominated Great Britain in centuries prior.
II. Theories of Crime Control
Rather than focusing on the dozens of crime control theories that populate handbooks and research journals, some attention should be paid to the nature of crime control theory itself and how it is established. One of the difficulties in generating sound theories of crime control is in gathering accurate data regarding the crime event, as such data requires micro-level knowledge of individual behaviour of offenders, victims, and law enforcement, who are at times necessarily inaccessible to researchers (Goff 75). Also, much of the research in the UK is directed by the Home Office, which operates a significant researching contingent of some 100 social scientists tasked with arranging, conducting and reporting various projects (Tilley 205). This is quite advantageous insofar that research can be specifically tailored to policy initiatives being discussed and possibly implemented by Parliament. In this way, theoretical research can be directly and efficiently policy guiding. However, this has the negative consequence of possibly lacking scientific integrity and governmental independence and perhaps at times the research is performed in order to satisfy the populist concerns and vagaries of whatever party happens to be in power at the time. The final issue in crime control theory is the deployment of language in describing crime events, nowhere is this more an issue than in the theoretical investigation of terrorism. Defining the term itself has been rather slippery as the term is not necessarily applied to a particular act but rather as a general motivating schema that underpins criminal activities as terroristic (Mythen and Walklate 381). Furthermore, attempting to associate that particular motivational scheme to a set of