Crime, Policing and Punishment in England, 1750–1914 by David Taylor

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By David Taylor

One of many fastest-growing and most enjoyable parts of historic examine in recent times has been the research of crime and the felony. The intrinsic fascination of the topic is more suitable via the truth that among the mid eighteenth century and early 20th century, the English legal justice procedure used to be essentially reworked as a brand new disciplinary country emerged. Drawing on fresh learn, this e-book presents a accomplished and up to date synthesis of those very important adjustments.

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In urban areas the pattern was necessarily different. It was still possible to steal poultry and small domesticated animals as they grazed on open land or in urban farms, but it was more common to steal food from shops or market stalls. Butchers and bakers were the most common victims of opportunist thefts. The theft of wood for fires was also to be found, but in many towns there was the additional opportunity of 'black gleaning', that is the taking of coal from railway companies and factories.

The act, which was primarily intended to provide a means of suppressing brothels, also raised the age of consent for girls to 16 and, in the notorious Labouchere amendment, criminalized male homosexual behaviour both in public and in private. Subsequent legislation, notably the 1898 Vagrancy Act and the 1912 Criminal Law Amendment Act, further strengthened the sanctions against prostitution and homosexuality. The 1908 Children Act provided for the summary trial of indecent assaults on children under the age of 16, while the Prevention oflncest Act of the same year made incest by men, previously an ecclesiastical offence, a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for a period of between three and seven years.

The offences in this category varied widely in their scale and nature. Particularly in London, certain burglaries and housebreakings were committed by organized gangs and involved substantial sums of money. In exceptional cases, members of the aristocracy found themselves victims of audacious thefts. The house of the Earl ofllchester in Old Burlington Street was stripped of plate and silver in January 1772, and £1200 of silver plate was stolen from the Archbishop of Canterbury's Palace in 1788, while in 1791, Buckingham Palace was broken into.

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