Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Bobby

Posted by Elyse Bruce on August 23, 2010

Who hasn’t watched a British movie on television and heard characters make reference to the London Bobby?

Robert Peel (1788-1850) introduced the concept of the London policeman in 1844.   As Home Secretary of Great Britain — and later prime minister — he reorganized the London police force into a modern law enforcement agency by way of the Metropolitan Police Act (10 Geo IV, c.44) of 1829.

Officers in the new department were first known as Peelers after their Irish counterparts in a similar reorganization of their police force when Peel was the Home Secretary of Ireland a  number of years earlier.

Peeler was gradually replaced in the public vernacular by bobby which is the shortened form of Robert.   Members of the London force are still known as bobbies still today.

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