Bow Street Runners and the Marine Police: London’s First Police Force
Bow Street Runners
The Bow Street Runners have been called London’s first professional police force. They were founded in 1749 by the author Henry Fielding and originally numbered just eight.
Similar to the unofficial ‘thief-takers’ (men who would solve petty crime for a fee), they represented a formalisation and regularisation of existing policing methods. What made them different from the thieftakers was their formal attachment to the Bow Street magistrates’ office, and that they were paid by the magistrate with funds from central government.