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This morning on BBC Radio 3, during the news summary it was mentioned that a report by the select committee of the Home Office is to announce that the United Kingdom is in danger of becoming a "surveillance society." They report the rise of what is referred to as "function creep," that is the utilization of collected private information for other purposes than it was intended…
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). ...
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