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On the Beat

Unease about the number of police officers patrolling the streets is nothing new. In 1855, people were increasingly concerned about the number of constables in Luton, believing that the population had grown so large that there were not enough to prevent trouble and catch criminals.

Luton Petition for more Constables 1855

QSR1855/4/2/10 – Luton’s petition for more constables.

As a result, a petition was started, signed by Luton residents from many different walks of life. It was believed that the parish of Luton was paying around £350 for their police force containing two constables, while other local parishes were paying considerably less but had four constables available to keep the peace. The petition noted that the proposed railway in the town would only lead to more ‘low’ and ‘disputable’ characters travelling into Luton, and ultimately, much more crime.

Second petition for more Constables QEV3

QEV3 – A later petition, still asking for more constables.

It appears Luton’s request for more constables was ignored and that their fears about the new railway were justified.