Fit like? Aberdeen police claim historical priority
Responding to our item about elderly police forces, Graeme Brown has stated the case for the seniority of Aberdeen's boys in blue.
In Graeme's own words –
Dear Professor MacQueen,
It was with interest that I read the most recent post to the excellent Scots Law News ('Gonnae nae dae that? Glesca polis see off Metropolitan untruths'). As a native of Aberdeen, I have to take issue with the
claim that the Glasgow police are the oldest service in Britain, if not the world. I respectfully refer you to Professor Neil Walker's chapter 'Situating Scottish Policing' in the 1999 volume Criminal Justice in Scotland (Duff, P and Hutton, N, eds., Ashgate) where it is stated at page 96:
"The establishment in the towns of 'new police' forces of professional officers with a clear public mandate took place through a series of private Acts of Parliament at the turn of the 19th century. Aberdeen led the way in 1795, followed by Glasgow in 1800, Edinburgh in 1805, and, in rapid progression, a cluster of smaller urban centres, until in 1833 the first public Act enabling the establishment of police forces in all royal burghs or burghs of barony was passed."
(Professor Walker was himself Professor of Legal and Constitutional Theory at the University of Aberdeen at the time he wrote this).
As such, Aberdeen's force pre-dates that of Glasgow by five years and is also three years older than the Thames River Police also referred to in the posting. It seems that Grampian Police didn't take issue with
Glasgow's claim to be the older force. Perhaps they were too busy dealing with Sergeant Eros/Stuart Kennedy?
Graeme Brown – Ph.D. student, University of Edinburgh
Graeme Brown, Solicitor
11 Parliament Square
Edinburgh EH1 1RQ
Many thanks from Scots Law News, Graeme. Now – any other bids?
Editor's PS – Professor Walker is at Edinburgh now, but possibly his intervening sojourn at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy may have enabled him to expand the scope of his research on these matters?