A brief history of the British police force
The Development of Police Forces nationwide
The 1856 Police Act saw a system for government inspection, audit and regulation for the first time. This County Borough Police Act now forced the whole of the country to set up police forces. The legislation:
Obliged the counties to organise police forces, subject to government control
Devised a system of inspection already in use in factories, workhouses and education
Made grants dependent on efficiency
Shifted the emphasis from the prevention of crime to its detection.
This act saw the start of the Modern Police Service in England and Wales. 239 forces were set up, still with great variations in pay and conditions; only half of them were found to be efficient. Similarly, the General Police Act (Scotland) 1857 required each Scottish county and burgh to set up a police force. In 1869, the National Criminal Record was set up, which made use of the new, rapid telegraph communications between forces and in 1877 Criminal Investigations Department (CID) was formed with 200 detectives; 600 more were added in 1883. Victorian Crime and Punishment