Before the Bobbies: The Night Watch and Police Reform in Metropolitan London, 1720-1830
This book traces the development of professional policing in London's parishes, outside the City of London. From the 1730s, local leaders pieced together recognizably modern police forces. Much of what has been attributed to the Metropolitan Police after 1829 emerged much earlier. Local forces became increasingly diverse, making centralization a key issue by the 1820s. When Robert Peel founded Scotland Yard, what he accomplished was the centralization of London's police, not its creation. The early modern British state was thus more responsive to urban problems than has previously been acknowledged.