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The First English DetectivesThe Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London, 1750-1840$
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J. M. Beattie

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199695164

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695164.001.0001

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Henry Fielding at Bow Street

Henry Fielding at Bow Street

(p.14) 2 Henry Fielding at Bow Street
The First English Detectives

J. M. Beattie

Oxford University Press

Examines the crime wave after the conclusion of a war in 1748, particularly the extent of violent offences on the streets of the capital and on the highways on the outskirts. The chapter goes on to discuss Henry Fielding’s magisterial practice at his house in Bow Street and his ideas about the causes of crime and the need for a more effective response – principally more active prosecution. It explains the national government’s previous efforts to contain violence by paying large rewards for the conviction of felons, the failure of which led to the government’s agreement to supply Fielding with money to support the group of men he was assembling at his magisterial office to detect, prosecute, and give evidence against violent offenders.

Keywords:   Henry Fielding, crime wave, Bow Street, police plan, government, rewards

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